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Gay marriage good for business in California

Latest update : 2008-06-19

The decision of the California Supreme Court to allow homosexuals to be married has created a new market which could prove lucrative in the years to come. (Report: G. and B. Fenwick)

The city of West Hollywood and its businesses welcomed the legalisation of gay marriage as a blessing. Thousands of extra visitors are expected to descend on this emblematic gay destination.


With close to 100 000 couples in the entire state, wedding professionals like Michael Willms the director of Entertainment Design Events are seeing their market suddenly expand: “I think we’re just in the beginning stages of what’s going to be a great economic opportunity but I think it’s the bleeding edge, not even the cutting edge, of this venture.”


Glenn and Paul were amongst the first to contact Michael. Glenn is a screenwriter and Paul is an artistic director for Disney. They have been together for thirteen years. On the very night of the California Supreme Court decision they decided that the time was right for them. In October they will become husband and husband but not without a big ceremony.


While sitting next to Paul Felix, his future husband, Glenn Camhi explains: “For those couples who can afford it, people who have been waiting a long time to get married are probably splurging a little bit more than they might have otherwise. I know that we are going a little further than we might have but we’ve been waiting for thirteen years!”


As for the overall financial repercussions of these upcoming nuptials, with the average wedding in LA at 30 000 dollars Professor Badgett puts the number at 250 million dollars over the next 6 months, based on recent events. The Research Director at Williams Institute recalls: “In 2004 when San Francisco had one month when the mayor let gay couples get married, couples came from 46 different states and several countries, just in a month. So we think it’s very likely that there will be a big flood of couples.”


As soon as the courts’ decision turned public the phone began ringing at the Cake and Arts Bakery in the heart of West Hollywood. At the other end of the line were customers who often faced the scepticism of other Californians, as Tom Rosa, the owner of Cake and Arts Bakery remembers:  “The day after the ruling while I was taking an order for two men a woman called me and she was in tears. She said ‘we live two hours away in Lancaster California’ which is a rural area outside of Los Angeles and she said that she had gone to three bakeries and been turned down by all of them. She said ‘we have had a business in Lancaster for the past 19 years and we still can’t get our cake made!”


During the elections in November Californians will have to ratify or overturn the courts decision. Until then numerous same sex couples, some of them from other states, will come to the Golden State to exchange their vows with varying budgets... nonetheless breathing fresh air into a strained local economy.

Date created : 2008-06-11