Hawaii expects tourist boost from gay marriage

HONOLULU (AP) - An estimate from a University of Hawaii researcher says gay marriage will boost tourism in Hawaii by $217 million over the next three years.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill allowing same-sex marriages on Wednesday.

Hawaii hopes to become a destination for couples in other states, boosting ceremonies, receptions and honeymoons in the islands.

The bump is expected to level out as early trips decrease and possibly more states legalize gay marriage.

University of Massachusetts-Amherst economics professor Lee Badgett says, however, that Hawaii has competition from other states where gays can marry.

Another 14 states and the District of Columbia already allow same-sex marriage. A bill is awaiting the governor's signature in Illinois.

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