It's interesting to see where Europe stands on marriage equality. It's first important to differentiate between registered partnerships and full marriag equality. Some countries only recognize same-sex couples as registered partnerships, which means that many rights afforded to married couples are not enjoyed by same-sex couples in a registered partnership. Other countries in Europe such as Italy do not recognize same-sex couples at all.
If you missed the news this week, marriage equality is sweeping across the U.S. In short, every remaining state in the U.S. has bans on same-sex marriages, bans that have been challenged in court. Those bans have largely been overturned but then appealed up to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided to keep their hands out of it, leaving the lower court rulings to stand.
Because the Supreme Court decided not to touch these cases, the rulings of lower federal circuit courts stand. This means that LGBT couples can now legally marry in the following 26 states (up from 19 last week!): California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.
Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Idaho, Alaska, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming could be next, for a total of 34 states.
While this is absolutely incredible, remember that in 29 states some who is LGBT can be fired for being gay, and in those same states, they can be discriminated against without it breaking the law. Most of those new states with marriage equality are places where same-sex couples will feel vulnerable choosing wedding professionals because they simply don't know who they can trust. How do they know they can trust you?
Think about that question. We can obviously help but think about how you want your business to be known....
In the following map, you can see the states where gay marriage is legal, or soon will be (it goes into effect in Rhode Island and Minnesota on August 1). Those are the purple states. The pink states have something else, either civil unions or statewide domestic partner benefits. The states that are white offer no protections or benefits to same-sex couples.
This next map shows you where in the world it's legal for a same-sex marriage (the blue countries).
Finally, this last map shows you where in the U.S. same-sex couples can be legally discriminated against...these white states are places you can be fired for being LGBT or denied services (including wedding services) for being LGBT.
Today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a ruling overturning the federal portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a discriminatory federal law which prevents same-sex marriage from being recognized by both the federal government and individual states where it’s not legal. They also declined to rule on a case challenging Proposition 8, the discriminatory ballot initiative which banned same-sex marriage in California after 18,000 couples legally married. What does this mean?
There was a contest in Chicago recently giving away a free wedding to a deserving couple. A same-sex couple participated and won. This quote in the video below from that couple really moved me - even though I hear this type of quote all the time: "We are the only same-sex couple a lot of our friends and family know so if they were to see us in a wedding scenario, it would just prove to them that our love is just like everyone else's."
That's what same-sex couples are looking for...keep in mind that most of the guests at their wedding will be straight...I urge you to urge them (the couple) to make the ceremony as impactful as possible so that those guests have tears in their eyes, love in their hearts and support of marriage equality on their minds.
One of the ways that can happen is if your clients hire a Celebrant to officiate their marriage ceremony, or someone else who can write a very powerful and meaningful ceremony script...
This site is intended to be a resource for wedding professionals and media who are interested in learning more about same-sex weddings. That said, since I actually PLAN lots of gay weddings, I don't have as much time to keep this updated as I'd like! Here are some resources to get you started:
- The Gay Wedding Glossary - the only one in the world, with loads of terminology and information on laws and so forth
- Data - We collect our own gay wedding data, but there's also some from the Williams Institute, Forbes and others
- Our App - it's a free download for iPhones and iPads and is a great tool for wedding planning
- Webinars - I teach quarterly webinars which cover everything you need to know about gay weddings (and more!)
- What to call a gay wedding
- Differences between straight and gay weddings
- Best places for your advertising dollars
- Engaged same-sex couples, blogging about their wedding plans
- Why the Federal Government won't recognize gay marriags
- Neutralizing the language on your website
- What churches perform gay wedding ceremonies?
- Turn-offs for gay and lesbian couples
- What do some lesbian brides like to be called?
- How to address gay wedding invitations
- Defining transgender - and what does this mean for gay weddings?
Question: How can vendors expect the wedding market to change and be prepared for it as more states legalize gay marriage? What is the wedding market like in areas where gay marriage isn't legal? Should vendors be marketing to gay couples even if they live in areas where gay marriage isn't legal or there isn't a high population of gay people?
Answer: First of all, vendors should be aware that it's going to change and that they need to be prepared and get ready now! They don't want to be behind when the tide turns in their state. It's much better to be pre-emptive than to have to play catchup! Our certification course is a great primer to prepare your business for gay weddings.
Same-sex couples who live in states where same-sex marriage is not legal frequently travel to states where it is (like Massachusetts and New York) and have a legal ceremony, then have a big party back home. Those big parties can sometimes have big budgets and be very much like a wedding, so there is absolutely no harm in marketing now.
Do you have any burning questions for me? Ask them here and I'll answer in an upcoming post!
That doesn't happen as much anymore but my biggest client of the year struck the image release clause from my contract. Such a bummer because they are gorgeous guys and it will be a stunning wedding!
I say all this because of a great post over at A Practical Wedding from a photographer who can't show you her client's engagement shoot. You have to read that post!
How do you respond when a client expresses fear of being fired or outed if you include their wedding photos on your blog or in your portfolio? You have to go along with it. It's their right to privacy. Listen. Sympathize. And respect their right - so don't use those images...
Have you ever had a same-sex client say this to you?
If Henry was a woman who married Josh, then a green card would be in order.
But Henry's a guy and the U.S. government has DOMA, a law prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriage, so off he will go back to Venezuela.
Could you imagine if Henry and Josh were your clients? If they were, you should advise them not to marry. It is actually dangerous for them to marry because of DOMA.
Off my 200+ gay weddings, I personally have never had a client in this situation - have you? What did you do?
- LGBT Marriage Equality and Relationship Recognition in Europe
- Marriage Equality is Here. Why Isn't My Phone Ringing?
- When Should I Use the Rainbow?
- 67 Percent of Engaged Same-Sex Couples Want to Hire Businesses with LGBT Wedding Experience
- Is My Website Attracting or Turning Off LGBT Couples?
- How Do I Update My Contracts and Forms for Same-Sex Couples?
- If I Can't Make Your Course, How Do I Learn About LGBT Weddings?
- Same Sex Couples Are Mobile. Are You?
- How Do I Find Photos of Same-Sex Couples for Marketing if I Haven't Booked Any Yet?
- Upcoming Gay Wedding Institute Certification Courses in Orlando and Toronto
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