Legalizing gay marriage in Rhode Island could mean a $1.2 million economic boost for the state, a new study has found.

The study, conducted by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, estimated that gay nuptials could generate nearly $1.2 million in new government revenue, primarily from taxes, over three years. Over the same period, the state would receive an estimated $786,000 in new income taxes from married gay couples filing their state taxes jointly.

Rhode Island lawmakers last year abandoned efforts to approve a gay marriage bill in favor of civil unions over the loud opposition of many gay rights activists.

A gay marriage bill is part of Marriage Equality Rhode Island's (MERI) 2012 legislative agenda. The measure is expected to be sponsored by Representative Art Handy in the House and Senator Rhonda Perry in the Senate.

Governor Lincoln Chafee signed civil unions into law last year but added that he supports marriage for gay couples.

(Related: Rhode Island's Stephanie Chafee officiates over civil union of gay couple.)