Minneapolis will gladly give up the competitive edge once Illinois passes equal marriage, but until then LGBT Chicagoans should travel to Minnesota to marry. That is the message Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is sending in a new ad campaign that targets Chicago, among other midwestern cities.
Rybak unveiled the campaign at a press conference at Center on Halsted Sept. 5.
"Chicago is my kind of town, but right now, it's a second city in human rights," Rybak told reporters.
Chicago is missing out on tourism and entertainment dollars, Rybak said, money that Minneapolis would welcome.
The new ad campaign invites Chicagoans to tie the knot in Minneapolis.
"Hey Chicago!" one ad reads. "I want to marry you in Minneapolis!"
Rybak's pitch aims to highlight the economic urgency of passing same-sex marriage in Illinois as well as bolster his city's tourism industry.
A recent Williams Institute study found that marriage equality in Illinois could generate $103 million in spending from Illinois couples alone. Out-of-state marriages could add to that number. Windy City Times found that 70 percent of Iowa's same-sex marriages were between out-of-state couples. Those numbers are expected to increase as the effective repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act has opened up a laundry list of rights to married same-sex couples, not available to Illinois civil union couples.
That is a reality Rybak wants to capitalize on.
He wants Chicago couples to hop a flight to Minneapolis and spend their wedding dollars there, he said.. He is making the same pitch in Milwaukee, Madison and Denver as part of a tour targeting midwest cities without marriage equality.
Asked if the campaign was unfair to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a supporter of same-sex marriage, Rybak chuckled.
"Have you met Mayor Emanuel?" he asked. "He would do it me any day of the week."
Rybak said he will be happy when Chicagoans have equal marriage and can poach its wedding business dollars.
Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda and a spokesperson for Illinois Unites for Marriage, said he will be happy to see that, too.
"I speak for the majority of Illinoisans when I say we look forward to returning the favor soon," Martinez said.
Video of the press conference linked below.
I encourage same-sex couples to take advantage of the IRS's new policies regarding same-sex married couples. My partner of 33 years and I plan to do just that.
The mayor of Minneapolis made an excellent case for getting married in his state. He was quoted as saying "You could fly to Minneapolis today and by the afternoon you would be eligible for 111 federal legal advantages."
The mayor's statement suggests that a couple can apply for a license, receive it, and get married on the same day. That is not accurate.
According to Minnesota law, you must appear in person at a Service Center in Minnesota to apply for and receive a marriage license. Then you must wait five days before you can be married. True, a couple may obtain an exemption from the five-day wait. Unfortunately, flying into Minneapolis from Chicago does not qualify as an emergency.
The statutes of the state of Minnesota mandate equal treatment for all couples seeking marriage. Consequently, it is unlikely that the mayor of Minneapolis can modify the laws of his state to accommodate same-sex couples from Chicago.
If you plan to go to Minneapolis to get married please factor into your plans an extended stay or two trips to Minnesota .