With State Bans Lifted, Cities Advertise For Gay Wedding Dollars

The Supreme Court’s sweeping legalization of same-sex marriage on June 24, 2015, has opened up a long-awaited area of opportunity for tourism officials in states that previously banned gay marriage. The can now promote their spots as gay wedding destinations.

The last few weeks have seen a number of city tourism bureaus embracing LGBT nuptials with advertising campaigns.
The Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau unveiled a digital ad campaign with the tagline “Say I Do in Lou,” promoting the Kentucky city as a friendly locale for same-sex ceremonies. According to the Louisville Courier Journal, which first reported the news, the tourism board began considering the potential for cultivating an LBGT wedding business in March as the Supreme Court decision loomed.

The campaign, which has support from the Louisville Metro Government, targets LGBT couples planning to get married, and their wedding planners, with messages highlighting the town’s scenic beauty and historic interest. There’s also a sweepstakes sponsored by the Louisville Convention Bureau and local businesses, with a grand prize of a free wedding and weekend getaway, valued at over $20,000.



As well as the city’s long history of LGBT culture and tourism, last year Conde Nast Traveler named Louisville one of the six most underrated cities for LGBT travelers.

Louisville isn’t alone in looking to cash in on LGBT weddings following the Supreme Court decision.

In Texas, the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau is preparing to launch an outreach program courting LGBT couples across the country looking to dance the two-step at their weddings, according to The Dallas Morning News. The gay marriage boom is part of a larger trend of Texas cities wooing LGBT visitors with events banking on the state’s distinctive identity, for example by hosting the International Gay Rodeo Association.

By the same token, cities where gay marriage has been legal for a while fear that they may lose out as LGBT couples gravitate to newcomers, which may offer more romantic locales. This week, the AP noted that Washington D.C. may see a drop-off in gay wedding tourism following its spread across the U.S. -- yet another reason for city tourist authorities to pay for campaigns touting themselves as gay wedding destinations.

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