Las Vegas tourism officials recently launched a sexy, gay-centric commercial that was a hit online and with TV viewers. New gay clubs and LGBT pool parties are launching on the Strip. After New York, the city is the most visited American destination by gay and bi men and the third (after NYC and San Francisco) for lesbians and bi women. One problem: the marriage capital of the U.S. doesn't allow same-sex nuptials.
Industry executives in the city say the ban is holding them back. Like any municipality that enacts marriage equality, a windfall is expected, but maybe no place more than Las Vegas. Of course, popular destinations like Miami, New Orleans, and Atlanta don't offer marriage equality but remain popular with LGBT travelers. Vegas, though, remains a top wedding destination, with guests spending multiple days there and partying before and after the ceremony.
"We have reached a point in the state of Nevada where our current laws governing gay and lesbian marriage have made our most vital industry, tourism, uncompetitive," Michael Weaver, senior vice president of marketing for Wynn Resorts, told the Associated Press. "Nevada resorts, restaurants, caterers, florists, photographers and musicians all need to be allowed to compete with the 19 other states that allow the freedom to marry."
Vegas officials are working around the ban, offering commitment ceremonies and honeymoon packages. They're also hoping the ban is tossed out soon. Lambda Legal will argue against the state's ban at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal on September 8 in San Francisco.