Minneapolis Mayor Invites You to a Gay Wedding

Thousands of them, in fact. The mayor sees an economic opportunity in drawing Chicago-area same-sex couples to his state to wed.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak in Boystown telling Chicago's LGBT community to visit Minnesota and get married.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak in Boystown telling Chicago's LGBT community to visit Minnesota and get married.
Come to Minnesota for a same-sex wedding ceremony.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak unveiled an advertising campaign in Chicago Thursday designed to entice same-sex couples in the Chicago area to visit his state to get married.
It’s called “I Want to Marry You in Minneapolis,” inviting gays and lesbians to visit the Gopher State to tie the knot. Rybak held the meeting at the Center on Halsted, the Midwest’s largest LGBT community center, where he detailed Minnesota’s economic advantage over Illinois in regards to gay marriage.

“Chicago is my kind of town, but it’s a second city in human rights,” Rybak said. “Right now that gives a tremendous competitive advantage to Minneapolis. The people who built this neighborhood, who have done so much incredible work for this community, you deserve equal rights. Come to Minnesota, a place that already recognizes that you should have those rights.”

Minnesota passed its same-sex marriage bill in May, and just one month later, the Defense of Marriage Act was repealed, granting federal marriage benefits to gay couples. Rybak said more than 1,600 same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses in just one month following the state’s ruling.

In Illinois, marriage equality legislation is under consideration by state lawmakers. Anthony Martinez, the executive director of the Civil Rights Agenda, said marriage equality could add $100 million to Illinois’ economy.

“It ... has real impact and cost to our hospitality and tourism industries,” Martinez said. “And while I’m delighted to see Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota benefit economically, I’m equal part distressed that Illinois is losing out on these economic dividends, especially when our economic reality is so dire.”

— Andy Ambrosius

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