Rybak travels to Chicago to draw same-sex weddings to Minn. - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Rybak brings 'I Want to Marry You in Minneapolis' campaign to Chicago

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  • PHOTOS: First same-sex marriages in Minnesota

    PHOTOS: First same-sex marriages in Minnesota

    Thursday, August 1 2013 11:41 AM EDT2013-08-01 15:41:38 GMT
    Minnesota wasted no time to celebrate the state's first same-sex marriages. The weddings started at 12:01 a.m. Thursday at Minneapolis City Hall
    Minnesota wasted no time to celebrate the state's first same-sex marriages. The weddings started at 12:01 a.m. Thursday at Minneapolis City Hall

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak traveled to Chicago on Thursday to promote a new ad campaign encouraging same-sex couples to venture to Minnesota to legally tie the knot.

"Folks from Minneapolis and Chicago know each other well. We visit each other often to take in theater, restaurants, museums, shopping, sports -- you name it. Now, Chicagoans have another great reason to come to Minneapolis: To get married," Rybak said. "Gay and lesbian couples from Chicago don't have to wait one more day to get married in Minneapolis. We're a supportive and welcoming city where folks are ready to help them put together the wedding of their dreams."

The "I Want to Marry You in Minneapolis" campaign will run in Chicago publications as well as in both Madison and Milwaukee in Wisconsin and Denver, Colo.

Marriage equality has been in effect in Minnesota since Aug. 1, and within one month of that date, 1,640 same-sex Minnesota couples had applied for a marriage license.

At midnight on Aug. 1, Rybak officiated 46 same-sex weddings that went until nearly 7 a.m. at Minneapolis City Hall.

"I hope the day comes very soon that all Illinoisans can marry the person that they love, and I strongly encourage the Legislature and Governor Quinn to pass marriage equality as soon as possible -- but until that day comes, I'm here to steal your business," Rybak said.

Although it's hard to know how many couples may be lured to Minnesota -- along with their checkbooks, one study conducted in Illinois found that same-sex marriage could mean as much as $100 million to the state's economy.

"This is very much about money," Rybak conceded while speaking in Chicago. "In my mind, it's also about equal rights. I can't imagine that in a city that has neighborhoods like this that were built by members of the LGBT community, they wouldn't have equal rights -- but hey, if they don't, we'd love you in Minneapolis."

The print ads will feature Twin Cities businesses, like Three Sons Signature Cuisine.

"It's a little frightening. I don't enjoy looking at myself in ads," Jodee McCallum admitted.

At this point, McCallum has no idea what kind of money the campaign could bring in, but she said she knows Minnesota is a tempting place to get hitched.

"I'm a little biased, but absolutely, I think Minneapolis is a wonderful place to get married," she said.

Another local business featured in the ads is Event Lab, which is known for planning some pretty extravagant weddings.

"The wedding industry is huge, of course," Gabriel Backlund said. "If the gay population makes up five to six percent of the general population, then that could be a large piece of the pie."

Since the marriage equality law went into effect, Three Sons Signature Cuisine has seen a change in their clients. While they have long hosted commitment ceremonies -- a typically intimate affair for 50 or 60 friends and family, they are now feeding wedding parties that number between 200 and 300.

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