» Latest News For LGBT-Friendly Wedding Pros

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.

Something occurred to me recently. Times have really changed. We no longer live in a world where Ricky Martin is having to swear he isn’t gay. Instead, he’s having to swear that he isn’t gay married!

I never thought I’d see the day.

But, here we are with 6 states (Massachusetts, Iowa, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut) and the District of Columbia proudly offering marriage licenses to all couples — gay and straight alike — while another 2 states (Maryland and Washington) have opened the 2012 season jockeying to see which can claim to be the eighth jurisdiction to legalize gay marriage.

Further, there are several other states — including Illinois, Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island, and New Jersey — offering civil unions and other broad partnership recognition rights to same sex couples. You can learn more about the map of marriage equality here.

This means that Wedding Pros in these areas should be making some conscious decisions about their marketing materials and the audience to whom they wish to speak if they haven’t already done so. More than ever, gay and lesbian couples are out there and the audience is listening.

Same sex couples have long held commitment ceremonies (as big as your traditional weddings) even when they haven’t had access to a marriage license. But with the opportunity for legal protections now in play in so many jurisdictions (and more to come), this is tipping the scale and bringing many other gay and lesbian couples who have been holding out to the altar.

Are you, as a wedding pro, reaching these couples? Do your marketing efforts, viral and otherwise, speak to them? And, if they do come, are you prepared to serve them knowledgeably and professionally?

For vendors who are working in markets listed above, it is imperative that you ask yourself these questions and evaluate your language and inclusivity. Not doing so may mean that you could be missing out on new business.

To learn more about reaching out to same-sex couples who are engaged, please take some time to listen in on a recent webinar.

To learn more about reaching the gay and lesbian wedding market by listing your services in the GayWeddings.com directory, powered by WeddingWire, please click here.