Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Just days after Maryland cleared the way for same-sex marriage–the city of Baltimore makes a push to cash in on gay and lesbian weddings. Tourism officials are encouraging same-sex couples from across the country to get married right here in Baltimore.
Kai Jackson explains the move is stirring some controversy.
State and local leaders believe the weddings will generate dollars, but others think the numbers are inflated.
Now that Maryland voters have approved same-sex marriage, the promotion campaigns have begun. Visit Baltimore has banner ads on its website encouraging same-sex couples to have their nuptials in Charm City.
“This is just the latest and greatest in our pitch to be inclusive about having anybody come to visit Baltimore. And now we’re saying not only come to visit you can be a tourist, but come get married here and come have your wedding reception here,” said Tom Noonan, President of Visit Baltimore.
State, local leaders and tourism experts believe same-sex marriages will generate big money.
“I cannot wait for the first licenses to be issued in the Mitchell Courthouse,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.
They believe hotels, restaurants and a host of wedding-related venues stand to gain economically from same-sex unions in the region–not to mention the revenue that governments will get in taxes.
“I think hotels will see a lift from this ordinance being passed. Caterers will see this being passed as a big lift for them,” Noonan said.
At least one opponent of same-sex marriage tells Eyewitness News he doesn’t believe the unions will generate the kind of money that supporters claim.
State Delegate Emmit Burns, who’s also a pastor and opposes same-sex marriage, doesn’t believe money from same-sex weddings will be significant.
“I don’t see that bringing in money that’s going to make a big difference at all,” Burns said.
According to reports, legalizing same-sex marriage has generated million of dollars for both New York and Washington D.C.