Baltimore Provides Free Planning Assistance For Same-Sex Weddings After Historic Maryland Vote

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]

Gay Marriage Sees Historic Victories

New York Celebrates Gay Pride With Two Months Of LGBT Events

gay pride It’s been almost a year since the passage of same-sex marriage in New York, and to help celebrate, the city is working with NYC & Company to bring two months of pride-related events. During June and July, 2012, the five boroughs will be presenting programming revolving around the flagship Heritage of Pride festival from June 16-24 in Manhattan, with motivational speakers, dancers, civil rights demonstrations, parades, street fairs and more. Some events include:

Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival- On June 3 in Jackson Heights, there will be a parade starting at noon, making its way down 37th from 84th. There will be special guests, including the cast of Wicked and a festival at 11:00 a.m. at 75th Avenue and 37th Road.

The Rally- On June 13 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., well known performers and speakers from the LGBT community will come together at the East River Bandshell to entertain and enlighten.

The March- On June 24 at noon, a civil rights demonstration celebrating gay rights and recognizing causes will begin at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Bronx Pride Festival- Taking place July 21 from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Crotona Park, will offer entertainment, a health fair and memorabilia.

To see a full listing of events for NYC Pride 2012, click here.

[Flickr photo via Guillaume Paumier]

LGBT travel 2012: Gay marriage becomes legal in Cancun, Mexico

gay marriage 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.

Preferred Pride hotel program caters to LGBT travelers

preferred pride hotelsNearly 100 preferred hotel group members have joined together to create Preferred Pride, a network of independently owned and operated hotels that cater to the needs of the LGBT community. In addition to being “gay welcoming”, these hotels offer equal opportunity employment and are active in their efforts to support the LGBT community.

Certain requirements exist for hotels to be able to join Preferred Pride. Hotels must be either TAG Approved (Community Marketing’s Travel Alternative Group) or be a member of IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association).

The Preferred Pride program was created in order to bring together a diverse group of hotels from around the world who are committed to the LGBT community, as well as a way to learn more about what this community needs in order to have a more enjoyable travel experience.

First gay museum in the U.S. opens in San Francisco

gay, GLBT, glbt, San FranciscoLess 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 ]