On Tuesday, when Maryland residents voted to uphold a law legalizing same-sex marriages, the city of Baltimore was ready. Just hours after the election results were in, Visit Baltimore unveiled a dedicated LGBT Wedding microsite, which provides resources for gay and lesbian couples looking to plan a wedding in the city.
“We encourage the LGBT community to visit Baltimore to celebrate their commitments to one another,” said Tom Noonan, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, in a press release. “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.”
Not only is Visit Baltimore extending a warm welcome to same-sex couples planning weddings, receptions and honeymoons, it’s also offering free assistance on tasks like securing marriage licenses, finding caterers and booking rooms at TAG-approved hotels, which are recognized for their non-discriminatory policies toward gay couples. The site also offers up suggestions for unique wedding venues, like the National Aquarium, the Maryland Zoo and the American Visionary Art Museum, with its selection of eccentric “outsider” artwork.
LGBT couples are welcome to apply for a Maryland marriage license starting on January 1, 2013. The Baltimore City license fee is $85, and the fee to be married by a court clerk is $25.[Photo Credit: Visit Baltimore]
LGBT travelers can add Cancun, Mexico, to their must-visit destination list, as the city has recently legalized gay marriage. In fact, the first same-sex marriages will be taking place this month in the resort area.
While same-sex marriage has been legal in Mexico City since 2009, a recently discovered gap in the Civil Code, which only talks about “people interested in getting married” without specifying gender, has helped to legalize gay marriage in the Quintana Roo area for 2012.
The Mexican Caribbean is already a popular travel destination for the LGBT community, with numerous gay-friendly and focused bars and clubs, hotels, tours and beaches, and the desire for gay weddings in the area has been high. With this new development, the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association is teaming up with Colectivo Diversidad, Gay Tours Mexico, and Fusion G to work out deals with hotels and airlines so that gay marriage ceremonies can take place all over the region.
From the looks of things, Quintana Roo will be seeing a surge in LGBT tourism and destination weddings in the new year.
Gay travelers have yet another reason to consider visiting Florida on their next vacation. Although Florida as a state has not legalized civil unions or gay marriage, The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach has become the first hotel in both the brand and the state to hire a certified gay wedding specialist.
Nancy Salatto-Deighan completed a program led by the 14 Stories Gay Wedding Institute to help same sex couples plan a special and meaningful celebration of their big day.
“The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach can further provide exemplary options and service to our guests and it is with great pride that The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach build a community for same-sex couples to celebrate their love and lives together,” said Michael King, the hotel’s general manager.
The hotel’s wedding specialist will offer services for very similar to that of a heterosexual wedding planner, seeking out unique venues, customized options and personalized services to help the bride and bride or groom and groom enjoy a memorable wedding day.
The service is definitely interesting, and we’re happy to see a brand encouraging same sex unions. But we can’t help but wonder – what makes the fundamentals of planning a same sex wedding that much different than those of a heterosexual union? Furthermore, why elect to begin this program in a state that doesn’t yet recognize gay marriage?
What do you think? Would you utilize a gay wedding planning specific service when planning your celebration? Is this a wise move by Ritz-Carlton or a PR blitz?
A court in England has fined hotel owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull for refusing a gay couple a double room, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy tried to get a room at the Chymorvah Hotel, near Penzance , in 2008, but were turned away. The judge ruled that this was discrimination and awarded the couple £1800 ($2,863) each in damages.
The Bulls are Christian and say they object to giving any unmarried couple a room. The judge ruled that since Hall and Preddy are civil partners they have the same rights as married couples. The BBC has filmed a statement by Hall and Preddy.
[Image courtesy Ludovic Bertron]
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Less than a month after President Obama repealed the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the U.S. has gotten its first gay museum. The GLBT History Museum is located in the Castro District of San Francisco. Run by the GLBT Historical Society, it features 1,600 sq. ft. of exhibition and activity space.
Yesterday was its grand opening and visitors got to see two exhibitions: Our Vast Queer Past: Celebrating GLBT History and Great Collections of the GLBT Historical Society Archives.
The GLBT Historical Society has some history of its own. It was founded in 1985 and has one of the largest archives of its kind. Currently there is only one other gay museum in the world. The Schwules Museum in Berlin is the first museum dedicated exclusively to GLBT history. It had its first exhibition in the Berlin Museum in 1984 and moved to its own space in 1985.
[Photo courtesy GLBT Historical Society ]