|Minneapolis Mayor Rybak (center)|
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is in Chicago today to launch “Marry Me In Minneapolis,” a campaign that invites Illinoisans to visit his city for their gay marriages.
Mayor 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.