The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

June 23, 2013

Midwest competition for gay wedding tourism?

States that have legalized same-sex marriage have seen an economic boost

DES MOINES, Iowa — During four years as the only Midwestern state to offer same-sex marriage, Iowa has seen thousands of couples travel to the heartland for wedding celebrations that pumped millions of dollars into the state economy.

But Iowa will get some competition in the cake and champagne industry when a Minnesota law legalizing gay marriage goes into effect on Aug. 1. Some Minnesota officials are already rolling out the red carpet for gay couples in other states.

"Weddings are a good business. That's an exciting part of it," St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said. "We're really seeing this as an opportunity to not only do right by the community, but the economic (benefit as well)."

Coleman, a Democrat, added, "It could be a friendly competition between Minnesota and Iowa but we're confident St. Paul will do well."

Just how this shift will impact the Iowa wedding industry is hard to predict. Although the states are similar in many ways, Minneapolis-St. Paul is a metro area that nearly equals Iowa's total population, and the Twin Cities airport offers more frequent and often cheaper flights than Iowa airports. There also is a surge in enthusiasm following Minnesota's change in law.

Those factors might prove attractive to an out-of-state couple looking for a place to wed. Still, Iowa gay rights advocates said there is support in the state for gay couples and that travel to Iowa would continue.

"We're so pleased that Minnesota now has marriage. I think that in terms of revenue, in terms of the number of couples, that's not going to change that much," said Donna Red Wing, executive director of One Iowa, the state's largest gay advocacy group. "I think people make choices based on lots of things. It seems like everybody has some connection to Iowa. I don't think it's going to affect us."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Bills aim to improve English language instruction English language learners integrated into mainstream classrooms

    April 24, 2014

  • Allina drops celebrated birthing option MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Allina Health has pulled the drain plug on a celebrated birthing option at its 11 Minnesota hospitals and the Mother Baby Center in Minneapolis. Allina says it will no longer offer water births because of new guidance from the Ame

    April 24, 2014

  • Federal study finds mercury in trout caught in three Grand Canyon creeks PHOENIX — With their natural beauty and protected environments, the Grand Canyon and other national parks in the West would seem removed from having mercury in their streams and rivers. But a federal study found small levels of the contaminant in ra

    April 24, 2014

  • Post office sales fight grows SAN FRANCISCO — The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has issued a report to Congress that criticizes the U.S. Postal Service’s disposal of historic properties and calls for a suspension of all sales until a host of recommendations are implem

    April 24, 2014

  • Lawmakers jockey over budget surpluses WASHINGTON — Less than 24 hours after the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team beat cross-state rival Louisville to advance to the Sweet 16, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray asked state lawmakers for $80 million to renovate Rupp Arena, the iconic bui

    April 23, 2014

  • Minn. lawmakers seek to enhance privacy protection ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers are on the verge of cracking down on public employees who abuse their access to citizen data. A measure being negotiated in a House-Senate conference committee would do more to expose and punish data snoope

    April 23, 2014

  • Republican activists push party on gay marriage LAS VEGAS (AP) — As bans against gay marriage crumble and public opinion on the issue shifts rapidly, some Republicans are pushing the party to drop its opposition to same-sex unions, part of a broader campaign to get the GOP to appeal to younger vot

    April 23, 2014

  • mfp church abuse Archbishop deposition on abuse made public Archbishop John Nienstedt says no one reprimanded who handled abuse

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legislature takes aim at new lottery games Legislators angry lottery didn't tell of new games

    April 22, 2014

  • NE ski resort extends season Lutsen still has two to four feet of snow on its runs

    April 22, 2014