The Iowa City-Coralville area is developing a new advertising campaign directed at out-of-state gay couples that are ready to tie the knot. Iowa is the only state in the Midwest that allows same-sex marriage and one study claims the ruling could boost the state’s budget by five-point-three million dollars.
Laurie Haman, with the Iowa City Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau, says couples who might never have had Iowa in mind for a trip are now traveling here in large groups to get married.
"When you have bus loads of people come in, you naturally want them to feel welcome," Haman said. Last week, several Missourians filled a bus and traveled to Iowa City to marry. Another group came from Minnesota to Davenport over the weekend. Haman the advertising campaign will focus on bigger cities in the Midwest.
"We’ll look at different print publications in Chicago, Minnesota and surrounding states," Haman said. Attracting visitors, regardless of the reason, means more money for local businesses. Iowa City jewelery shop owner Mark Ginsberg is helping with the gay and lesbian campaign.
"Hopefully they want to visit and stay in our charming little community, and know that we are an all-inclusive type of community," Ginsberg said. He and a handful of other business owners are putting together a list of wedding resources, from jewelry to hotels to bakeries. The main marketing message is same sex couples are welcome, just like any other couple planning a wedding.
"We want to let them know that we welcome all couples…man-man, man-woman, woman-woman, it doesn’t matter," Ginsberg said.