Marry me in Minneapolis
September 5th, 2013
I’ve always thought “pass marriage equality for your state’s economic benefit” to be a bit of a weak argument. It is nice that there is an economic advantage to providing gay couples with the rights they are already promised in the Constitution, but that should be more of a happy coincidence than a measure of whether one ought to do what is right.
And yes, for so long as some states insult and demean their gay residents, there will be a certain amount of marriage tourism. But you could also get a certain amount of tourism business by building the World’s Largest Rubber Ducky.
So I’ve always seen this argument as a targeted appeal, a position that certain politicians could articulate so as to explain their support of equality to otherwise suspicious constituents who might worry about taking their hard-eared tax money and squandering it on Teh Gheys.
For years, the Massachusetts Marriage License hanging over Sue and Sally’s mantle in Boise had great sentimental value. And it might even have been beneficial for Sue adding Sally to her employer’s health plan. And, of course, it had much importance in changing the way that Aunt Thelma understood them.
But it didn’t have much tangible worth when it came to the way they navigated their legal affairs. It was valuable, but perhaps not necessary. And because it is complicated and time consuming to plan a trip to another state to marry, many couples opted not to go, or just indefinitely delayed the chance to say, “We’re legally married in a dozen states, but not our own.”
All that changed with Windsor. Now that the federal government will, for many purposes, recognize legal marriages, Sue and Sally’s marriage license has increased in value. In real tangible dollar value.
And now the time and the cost and the hassle may well be worth it for couples who can benefit from filing taxes as married or from social security inheritance concerns or from veterans benefits. Now the argument about marriage tourism may well prove to be a valid and convincing one.
And at least one mayor is seeking to cash in on the opportunity. Minneapolis’s R.T. Rybak is spearheading a campaign to draw marriage tourism from Minnesota’s neighbors. (Trib)
The mayor of Minnesota’s largest city made a proposal to Chicago’s gay and lesbian community Thursday: Get married in Minneapolis.
The visit launches an ad campaign to attract lucrative wedding business from Chicago and other cities in the area, where same-sex marriage has not been legalized.
Tying the knot in Minneapolis makes financial sense for the city, which reaps tourism dollars, and the couples, who would enjoy federal benefits, said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak at the ad campaign’s unveiling at the Center on Halsted in the Lakeview neighborhood.
Granted, Des Moines is closer and Iowa also allows same-sex marriage. But Minneapolis is putting out the welcome sign.
This is a smart move. For a license fee of $115, a less financially situated couple could drive six hours, marry and be home the same day. A budget minded couple could get round trip tickets for about $100 each and a decent room for about the same.
But the couples that Rybak is trying to convince are the ones who will make an event of it. They may have friends fly in or drive up (an option less likely for a wedding on the coasts), rent out a hall or restaurant, stay in the honeymoon suite, order flowers for the church, and hire a photographer. It’s close enough that they can make it more than a trip to pick up a piece of paper. And it adds up quickly. (WaPo)
Rybak figures the campaign, if successful, could be extremely lucrative for Minneapolis, profiting on everything from hotel rooms to flowers to caterers.
“Even 20 weddings would be tens of thousands of dollars, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Rybak said.
And the biggest benefit to Minneapolis may not even be in tourism but in same-sex couples who choose to live – and start businesses – in a city and state that has made it clear that they are wanted. Unstated in the slogan, but certainly present in the appeal is “Marry Me in Minneapolis… and don’t go home.”