Dallas, Texas, has the 6th-largest LGBT population in the US, and has been called one of the most gay-friendly cities in the US.
Since the US Supreme Court ruling that approved same sex marriage, Dallas is now trying to bill itself as the hot new destination for gay couples.
“The gay market is a natural market for Dallas, which comes as a surprise to many,” said Phillip Jones, the president & CEO of the Dallas visitor’s bureau. “People have this perception of Dallas, and of Texas, as being this politically conservative place, but we have a female lesbian Hispanic sheriff.”
Jones emphasised how Dallas has a large and well-established gay community, and nationally-recognised gay neighbourhoods like Oak Lawn, as well as the Bishop Arts District gayborhood, both full of bustling hotspots like the Round-Up Saloon, JR’s Bar & Grill and Station 4. The city is also home to the Cathedral of Hope, which is the world’s largest gay and lesbian church with 30,000 national members.
Dallas issued its first same-sex marriage licence mere hours after the SCOTUS decision was announced — and the tourism board is jumping on board to bring in gay couples looking for destination weddings.
LGBT magazine The Dallas Voice has put together the first annual Wedding Party & EXPO in conjunction with the North Texas GLBT Chamber, which will take place on August 2nd, and will feature more than 60 exhibitors, including venues, photographers, caterers, and florists, as well as a formal wear fashion show. While same-sex marriage in Texas is obviously still new, according to Engayged Weddings popular venues already include the scenic Towering Oaks Haven and Castle on the Lake.
So far, the Dallas CVB’s efforts include targeted outreach through social media, a dedicated microsite, and even a LGBT visitor’s guide for which they partnered with the local North Texas GLBT Chamber. They have been reaching out to the Cathedral of Hope as well as other local churches to make sure they have the infrastructure in place to accommodate the many same-sex weddings Dallas will hopefully be hosting in the future.
“If you happen to be gay and want to get married, why not in Dallas?” Jones said. “It’s great for gay couples to say ‘hey, I got married in Texas!'”
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