Friday, March 23, 2007

Follow the Money

Apparently, wedding industry professionals are having to adapt to the term "civil union" as they court gay couples.

First, I'll say this whenever civil unions come up: If separate but equal isn't good enough for lunch counters and education, it's not good enough for nuptials.

Next, whether wedding planners are stumbling over their words or not is, well, it's kind of irrelevant. That's bound to happen. People in new situations take time to adjust. What is important is captured in this paragraph from the link above:

The potential for profits is huge. Forbes magazine reported in 2004 that if all the same-sex couples in the United States were allowed to marry, they could expect to spend $16.8 billion on their weddings.
No matter how vicious people opposed to civil rights become, there's one thing they won't be able to stop. Businesses will try to make money where they can. $16.8 billion untapped dollars will be too tempting to resist regardless of the number of fundamentalists writing furious letters.

Tapping this money will involve advertising in specialized and broad markets. That advertising could move gay marriage into the mundane as effectively as any legislation or political initiative. It's important to let LGBT friendly businesses know that you learned of, and selected, their services because of what you heard on your radio or TV. That's as powerful a communication as any letter.