Florida and Gay Marriage
I write a lot about gay marriage – after all this is a blog on contemporary gay culture – but frankly I don’t care one way or the other about the issue. But God bless those that do: 106 couples got married in the pre-dawn hours of January 6 here in Fort Lauderdale alone when it became legal, and they say as many as 25,000 gays will get hitched here by year’s end.
Making gay marriage legal generated several hundred million dollars in business for New York State and the experts rightly predict it will happen here too. Hotels along the beach strip together with wedding planners, caterers, photographers, and whoever else is in the wedding game are already gearing up for a major upswing in bookings. And that doesn’t even touch on real estate and all those trips to Home Depot. In fact, I predict that south Florida will become the gay marriage capital of the country for a couple of reasons:
– The weather. What better place to honeymoon than beachy Lauderdale or Miami? In fact, the Fort Lauderdale Tourism Bureau is planning a 100 gay marriage mega event on February 5 – on the beach. And the luxury hotel, W, right across from the beach, sure to gain from all the hoopla, will be offering free champagne toasts.
– South Florida has become a major gay destination for vacationers and new residents alike. Gay vacationers generate billions of dollars during Season (November-May) when the rest of the world is freezing its ass off (it’s 81 degrees as I write this); and those moving down here contributed to Florida becoming the third most populous state in the country, beating New York for the first time. And while we still have our red necks and Bible Belters (some of whom in north Florida refuse to perform gay marriages or issue licenses), South Florida’s Wilton Manors, our Castro, Hell’s Kitchen or Boystown, is ranked among the top ten gay friendliest cities in the country.
– Many of those couples wanting to hitch legally are over 50 and have been in long term relationships, and Florida, especially South Florida, is a retirement mecca, and Fort Lauderdale, in particular, more than pretty boy Miami, is a welcoming place for us older gays.
– Even if couples live in states where gay marriage is legal like NY or NJ, a marriage consummated in Florida will be recognized back home.
I’m certain many if not most of the couples getting married are doing it for love, companionship, legal or financial advantages or any combination thereof. But, just like with some str8’s, I have my cynical reservations:
– How many gays are getting married strictly for the glitz value? (Ah, divorce lawyers are already busy in Wilton Manors and actually it was a lesbian couple seeking a divorce that started the whole legal circus that led to the ban on SSM being lifted).
– How many of these marriages are or will remain monogamous, particularly in a town known for its promiscuity?
– How many of these marriages will be between the have and the wants, again in a town populated by lonely, vulnerable, wealthy and often naive retirees and young, pretty, nowhere gold diggers?