Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak bids for Ill. gay couples' weddings
September 5, 2013 (CHICAGO) -- Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback is courting gay couples from Chicago with a new campaign, 'Marry Me in Minneapolis.'
He's inviting same sex couples from Chicago to get tie the knot in his city, and his "Marry Me in Minneapolis" ad is printed in several community papers.
Ryback believes same sex weddings for out-of-town couples could generate some income for his city through flowers, cakes, caterers, wedding halls and hotels.
"Chicago is my kind of town, but it's a second city in human rights, and right now that gives a tremendous competitive advantage to Minneapolis," Mayor Rybak said.
Legislators in Illinois have failed to pass a marriage equality law.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn both support equality and don't want to lose that economic boost. They're hoping lawmakers will make marriage legal for everyone in the fall.
Marriage is also legal for everyone in neighboring state of Iowa, but Mayor Rybak thinks Minneapolis can be the destination city for gay Chicago couples.
"Commit to marriage. That will give you those more than 1,100 federal rights immediately," said Mayor Rybak said. "You can hop on a plane this afternoon, got Minneapolis and get married, and come home tonight and be eligible for veteran's benefits, for all those other benefits, as well.
"While waiting, and waiting and waiting for the Illinois marriage bill to be called, and we still wait," said Anthony Martinez, Illinois Unites for Marriage Campaign. "And so I'm here today to urge our legislators to pass the Illinois Marriage Equality Bill."
"I think somebody needs to shake up the House and show them where the future is going," said Chicagoan Michael Elder.
Mayor Rybak says one study shows that there is at least $100 million up for grabs in same sex wedding money in the next 3 years.
While he politically supports marriage equality, he says this trip is not political, it's all about business.
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