This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.com, the leading online resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography. Follow her on Twitter @madebykathryn.
I still have days where I feel like I need to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.
Is it really true, I ask myself, that the Supreme Court validated marriage equality? Is my union (sealed spiritually in 1999 and then legally in 2013) recognized in all 50 states? Was I really standing on the steps of the Supreme Court on June 26 with our company founder (my mom, Gretchen) and my colleagues from WeddingWire, watching the staffers run the Justices’ decision to their reporters and then celebrating the news as it spread through the crowd?
All of this is true. And it’s only one small part of what I can only describe as the best Pride month I’ve ever enjoyed.
Gretchen and I kicked off the month of June with the announcement that GayWeddings.com was acquired by WeddingWire. Our decision to make this move culminates 5 years of collaboration, 4 years of offering the most comprehensive LGBTQ-friendly directory of wedding professionals (which is now more than 120,000 strong), and an unbroken streak of same-sex wedding education on the main stage at WeddingWire World, beginning with its inaugural conference in 2012. We’ve worked hard to build a thoughtful and inclusive platform for all couples at WeddingWire, and now we have the opportunity to design a stronger online resource for same-sex couples who still desire a niche-oriented site for their planning.
Since we announced our acquisition, our site traffic has grown by 36% (compared to the same period last year), and, even more impressive, interest in our directory of LGBTQ-friendly professionals has already doubled. Same-sex couples are looking for your services and they know they can count on the professionals who have taken advantage of the wide-range of offerings in the WeddingWire Education Center and who have the reviews of real couples to endorse their services.
In addition to sharing the news of our acquisition, we also enjoyed a marriage equality vow renewal event at the Embassy Row hotel, with the help of Capitol Romance and Pop Wed Co, and, together, we walked in the annual Capital Pride parade. And, finally, we decided as a team that June 26 would be the day that the Supreme Court would announce its marriage equality decision and, donned our Wed We Can shirts and all headed down to the steps of the Supreme Court to await the decision. It was a joyous morning!
With the news that the Supreme Court’s decision would overturn the state constitutional bans and thus require states to also recognize out-of-state marriages, same-sex couples in the 13 remaining states had plenty to celebrate as well. The majority of the jurisdictions impacted by the decision eagerly or willingly implemented the new policy, though a few counties in those states initially resisted the request to recognize marriage equality.
In my next post, I’ll talk about what’s next in the conversation regarding same-sex marriage and, meanwhile, encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, listen in on some of my recent WeddingWire webinars (including one I did for photographers with my New Art of Capturing Love co-author, Thea Dodds) or join me and the WeddingWire team out at Wedding MBA in Las Vegas in September. My WeddingWire World streak continues as well in February 2016 when we’ll bring you the biggest and best conference yet (and, yes, registration is now open!).
Thanks for being such wonderful allies to the LGBTQ community; I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation with you!
Do you have a marriage equality or pride celebration picture to share? Post it on social media and tag it #WedWeCan to join our campaign in support of same-sex marriage.