New York Woos Same-Sex Marriages

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New York State is getting ready to celebrate its first same-sex weddings on Sunday.

Following last month’s passage of marriage equality legislation, the state’s travel bureau is getting in on the action by “offering wedding packages for same-sex couples in some of the most world-renowned travel destinations – from Niagara Falls to New York City” on its I Love NY website.

New York City is expecting to break the record for most marriage licenses given out in a day on Sunday with 764 available, the New York Times reports. That’s 20% higher than the previous high of  621 set on Valentine’s Day 2003, the paper notes.[more]

Thousands of couples are interested in receiving their licenses on the historic first day, but those who will actually get the licenses will be selected through a lottery (open to any couple that wishes to marry), which closes at noon today.

“The last thing we want to have happen is for couples to wait on line for hours and hours, only to walk away upset on what was supposed to be the biggest day of their lives,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg stated at a press conference.

“Over the past two weeks, the city clerk’s office had received 2,661 license applications online, and an estimated 1,728 of those were from same-sex couples,” the Times reports.

As part of the “Save the Date” campaign, the iconic “I Love New York” logo created by Milton Glaser is now rainbow-striped for the occasion.

“Every sector of New York’s travel and tourism industry will immediately benefit from the economic opportunities created by same-sex marriage,” stated Empire State Development President and CEO Kenneth Adams. “Our ‘Save the Date’ campaign will bring together couples and businesses to establish New York as a premier destination for same-sex weddings.” 

Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who put a great deal of effort toward getting a same-sex marriage law passed in New York, has announced a different effort to try and bring people to the Empire State: jobs.

WNYT reports that Cuomo is planning to launch an advertising campaign, “New York Open for Business,” that will include television and radio advertising out of state, and online marketing.

Part of the plan is “changing the way businesses can apply for development funds” to make it more of a competition, the site notes. 

As for same-sex marriages, Cuomo said, “It triggered a reaction all across this nation, and you’re seeing other states respond and other state legislatures respond,” according to WNYT.

It also has helped create some financial influx into New York. The addition of same-sex marriages is expected to bring in $400 million to New York businesses in the next three years.

Among industries showing their support, New York’s theater community has special events planned both on and off Broadway, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Avenue Q, for instance, will “mark the occasion by having Rod and Ricky, the same-sex puppets who have met and fallen in love on stage 3,267 times since the show’s Broadway opening in 2003, join the men and women lining up at City Hall to officially wed Sunday.”

The Journal adds, “Let’s just hope the newlywed puppets will make it back uptown in time for the show’s 3 p.m. curtain call.” 

The on-Broadway performance of Hair, meanwhile, will wed real-life couples from the theater community in an onstage same-sex ceremony on Monday evening as part of the play.

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