India’s landmark vote to overturn a colonial-era ban on gay sex isn’t just a win for LGBTQ equality. Now, experts say the ruling could have major effects on the South Asian country’s economy at large.
International businesses in India and abroad have long noted the links between inclusive policies and a stronger, more competitive local economy, reports Bloomberg. With the anti-gay law now overturned, Indian business owners across the nation are expecting to reap the rewards of the queer community’s so-called “Pink Dollar.”
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“It will have a massive economic impact,” Keshav Suri, an Indian hotelier who joined the fight to challenge the outdated law, told Bloomberg. “Why are we hampering the tourism sector in this country?”
University of Massachusetts Amherst economics professor Lee Badgett, who’s studied the issue for World Bank, agrees: “This strongly positive ruling could lead to more open appeals to LGBT consumers in India,” he told the news site. “Companies won’t have to worry that they’ll be criticized for supporting illegal behavior.”
According to Badgett’s calculations, India has been losing approximately 1.4% of its national output due to the outdated law. Given India’s $2.6 trillion economy, that means discriminating against LGBTQ people could have cost the nation some $26 billion per year.
Around the world, countries have witnessed firsthand the positive and negative economic impacts of legislation that affects the LGBTQ community. Earlier this year, Bermuda became the first country to repeal marriage equality after legalizing it, prompting queer tourists to start a #BoycottBermuda campaign on social media.