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
  • Injured snowy owl ready to be released ST. PAUL (AP) — A rare snowy owl that gained national attention when it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital is scheduled to be released into the wild after a rehab stint in Minnesota. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • Court case to test 'Buy the Farm' law NEW PRAGUE (AP) — A case set for trial next week is expected to test Minnesota's "Buy the Farm" law, which is meant to require utilities building high-voltage power lines to buy out farms in the way if affected landowners demand it. The case pits th

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge strikes down part of state energy law MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • White House updating online privacy policy A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tribut

    April 18, 2014

  • Horse virus cases showing up in Upper Midwest BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials in the Upper Midwest are cautioning horse owners about a virus that spreads easily among the animals and can lead to breathing problems, abortions and nervous system disorders. Three cases of equine herpesvirus

    April 18, 2014

  • Bear attacks spark debate: Kill them, or leave them alone? ORLANDO, Fla.—Dallas Smith thinks he has the answer to Central Florida’s black-bear threat, and he’s ready to lock and load it. “I think the fear of God needs to be put back into them,” said Smith, 47, who wants state authorities to lift restriction

    April 18, 2014

  • Tourism push plays up 'Only in Minnesota' ST. PAUL — (AP) — Say goodbye to "More to Explore." Minnesota tourism promoters ushered in a new slogan Thursday that focuses on "Only in Minnesota" experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign. The revamped message kicks off a maj

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp ap pipeline photo Minnesota Pipe Line seeks to expand capacity MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Pipe Line Co. announced plans Thursday to nearly double the capacity of a crude oil pipeline that carries oil from Canada and North Dakota to the two refineries in the Twin Cities that produce most of Minnesota's and much

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holder asserts his commitment to fighting heroin WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront

    April 17, 2014

  • Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds ATLANTA — Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her speech, but she

    April 17, 2014