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The LGBT Wedding Expo

I love stories like this.

RedEquality

The Houston LGBT Wedding Expo at the Galleria-area JW Marriott, which was hosted by the North Carolina-based Rainbow Wedding Network, showcased venues and companies marketing to the growing number of same-sex couples.

With the LGBT community gaining visibility and gay-marriage bans toppling in several states, wedding events and services for same-sex couples are becoming increasingly popular. Since launching the Rainbow Wedding Network in 2000, co-founder Cindy Sproul and her life partner have seen attendance at their events and demand for them grow quickly.

Sunday’s event proved to be the organization’s second-largest event of the year with more than 750 reserved tickets.

While gay marriage is not legal in Texas, many couples still exchange vows here or travel out of state for a ceremony and return home for the reception.

“Our shows in areas where there is no marriage recognition for LGBT couples tend to have a higher turnout. If you think about it, we kind of take that awkwardness out for couples,” said Sproul. “When they walk in here, they’re planning a wedding, all those businesses that are there are very excited for them. They don’t get that if they go to a traditional bridal fair.”

I’ve noted before that the legalization of same sex marriage is a boost to the economy, and with stories like this you can see why. The longer the current fight over the constitutionality of Texas’ ban on same sex marriage is drawn out, the less Texas will ultimately capitalize on this effect, since more and more people will decide not to wait but will take advantage of what is legally available to them in other states, but it will still be a boon when it happens.

The first same sex wedding I ever attended was in 1996, between my friends Martha and Elisabeth. Obviously, it wasn’t a wedding in a legal sense, but it was a lovely and very traditional ceremony at one of the progressive Episcopal churches in Montrose. The brides found a clever hack for dealing with wedding registries, which of course required a groom’s name as part of the couple. Each registered as the bride at one of the locations where they wanted to register, and for the groom’s name they simply entered the first and middle initials and last name of their betrothed as the groom. Neither Dillard’s nor Bed, Bath & Beyond were any the wiser, and they reaped the benefit of their business while the guests enjoyed the convenience of the service they normally expected. Oh, and the world didn’t end and eighteen years later they’re still married, now in the official legal sense, in California. And I hope that someday soon people like them will be able to register together without going through any subterfuge just as straight couples do.

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