Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak in Boystown telling Chicago's LGBT community to visit Minnesota and get married. (Credit: Andy Ambrosius) Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak in Boystown telling Chicago's LGBT community to visit Minnesota and get married. (Cred
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak visited Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood Thursday morning, unveiling a new advertising campaign to draw the city’s LGBT community to get married in Minnesota.
It’s called “I Want to Marry You in Minneapolis,” inviting same-sex couples to visit the northern city to tie the knot. Rybak held the meeting at the Center on Halsted, the Midwest’s largest LGBT community center, where he detailed Minnesota’s economic advantage over Illinois in regards to gay marriage.
“Chicago is my kind of town, but it’s a second city in human rights,” Rybak said. “Right now that gives a tremendous competitive advantage to Minneapolis. The people who built this neighborhood, who have done so much incredible work for this community, you deserve equal rights. Come to Minnesota, a place that already recognizes that you should have those rights.”
Minnesota passed its same-sex marriage bill in May, and just one month later, the Defense of Marriage Act was repealed, granting federal marriage benefits to gay couples. Rybak said more than 1,600 same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses in just one month following the state’s ruling.
Anthony Martinez, the executive director of the Civil Rights Agenda, joined Rybak in Boystown, elaborating on the economic advantages of passing gay marriage in Illinois. He cited a recent study by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, estimating marriage equality could add $100 million to Illinois’ economy.
He says it’s time to urge legislators to pass the bill.
“It’s also an economic issue, and has real impact and cost to our hospitality and tourism industries,” Martinez said. “And while I’m delighted to see Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota benefit economically, I’m equal part distressed that Illinois is losing out on these economic dividends, especially when our economic reality is so dire.”
Rybak is unveiling the “I Want to Marry You in Minneapolis” campaign in multiple Midwest cities including Milwaukee, Madison and Denver. But he says because of the city’s affluent demographics, he’s targeting Chicagoans.
“It’s estimated that $100 million is estimated to come into this economy once marriage equality is legal,” Rybak said. “I believe it will eventually, but how about this, Illinois: Why don’t you give Minnesota $11 million off of that and you take the other $100 million when you figure this thing out?”