Baltimore wants to host gay weddings

Posted by Troy Petenbrink
November 8, 2012 6:14 PM |

Baltimore-GayMarriage-Website.jpgMaryland became one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriage at the ballot box Tuesday night, sending a welcoming message to the LGBT community.

As part of this historic event, the city of Baltimore is rolling out the pink carpet to same-sex couples and helping them find information for planning weddings, receptions and honeymoons.

Visit Baltimore, the city’s tourism bureau, yesterday announced that it has launched a new microsite – baltimore.org/lgbt-weddings – containing everything same-sex couples need to know to get married in Baltimore, from practical information on how to obtain a marriage license to unique wedding venues and vendors as well as information on Baltimore’s gay-friendly TAG Approved accommodations.

“We encourage the LGBT community to visit Baltimore to celebrate their commitments to one another,” says Tom Noonan, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore. “As a city, we have long been proud to support the rights and equality of our visitors, and the legalization of same-sex marriage is another important step forward.”

Visit Baltimore has been supporting the LGBT community through advertising and other initiatives such as an annual LGBT Visitors Guide to Baltimore in partnership with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland. The bureau also maintains LGBT advisory committee of local tourism and business partners.

Maryland, Maine and Washington became the first states to pass same-sex marriage via public voting. They will join six other states that offer same-sex marriage, including Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia and two Native American tribal jurisdictions, the Coquille Tribe of Oregon and the Suquamish tribe of Washington.

The approval of same-sex marriage can be a significant economic benefit for a state. Massachusetts, which was the first state to approve same-sex marriage, estimates that it has added more than $100 million to its economy as a result of same-sex marriage. And New York, which approved same-sex marriage in 2011, estimates that more then $250 million has been raised from marriage license fees and wedding-related spending.

"We will see same-sex marriage tourism marketing increase significantly in 2013," said Bob Witeck, principal of Witeck Communications and an expert in LGBT marketing. "With more opportunities for same-sex marriage, businesses and destinations have a greater incentive to target the community."

Witeck points out that if the U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear the 9th circuit court of appeals' decision that California's Proposition 8 unconstitutionally deprived same-sex couples of marriage rights, same-sex marriage will likely be restored in that state and dramatically increase opportunities for same-sex marriage marketing.

For more information in Maryland on LGBT marriage licenses, wedding venues, accommodations and honeymoon suggestions, visit baltimore.org/lgbt-weddings.

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