Same-sex marriage to boost business in Minn.

8:29 AM, Jun 5, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

MINNEAPOLIS - After a whirlwind of legislative activity, same-sex marriage legislation has been signed, sealed and delivered.

Starting on Aug. 1 couples will be allowed to marry. The change in law is not only impacting families across the state, but also the industries associated with weddings.

"Well, now it's available for my son too," Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman said, standing 30 yards from the spot where her daughter got her marriage license.

The Commissioner was part of a press conference kicking off the application process. Starting June 6, same-sex couples can apply for the licenses in Hennepin County ensuring that they'll be able to have an Aug, 1 wedding.

"I started getting constituent calls from people saying, 'when can we apply and can we really get married on Aug. 1?'" Dorfman told reporters.

Tourism officials from St. Paul and Minneapolis have been anticipating the rush for weeks.

"We went in and revamped our website so that it would be more welcoming to same-sex couples," said Visit St. Paul President and CEO Karolyn Kirchgesler. "Since the legislation passed, 17 percent of the requests that we're getting for wedding assistance have come from same sex couples."

"It hasn't been a huge surge," Meet Minneapolis Communications Manager Kristen Montag said.

But Montag expects the interest will grow as we get closer to Aug. 1 and more importantly she expects the market to sustain itself for years.

"We're ready to help them book now because our Minnesota venues book out quickly, obviously, in key times of the year," Montag said.

You don't have to tell Laura Cederberg of the American Swedish Institute. The Institute offers a couple of very popular wedding locales and had significant booking numbers prior to the landmark legislation.

Now, Cederberg says she sees couples calling or browsing around the institute daily who are inquiring about holding same-sex marriage ceremonies. The interest was certainly enough to call the business manager over at Lavender Magazine, the popular GLBT magazine based down the street.

"We want to be on board. We want to send a message that we're with the GLBT community. His phones were ringing off the hook in the background (so) I know that we're not the only ones," she said.

Not even close. Lavender Magazine CEO Stephen Rocheford doubled his sales staff anticipating a business boom.

"The sales force is having a tough time keeping up with it all. Jewelers, hotels, florists, caterers, you name it. They want to cash in on the anticipated 5,000 weddings that are going to happen. Now, how much does a wedding cost?" Rocheford asked, with a huge grin.

Rocheford says the new marriage legislation further exposes a very profitable market in the Twin Cities.

"It's only going to get bigger and better as more and more people realize the size of it -- $4.2 billion locally is a lot of dollars to a lot of people," he said, citing company research.

It was a piece of legislation that meant a lot, to a lot of people. Now, some believe businesses are just beginning to see what it may mean economically in Minnesota, for years to come.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Most Watched Videos