Mayor Rybak unveils campaign to woo business from Chicago's same-sex couples [IMAGES]

Categories: GLBT, R.T. Rybak
B FRESH Photography for City Pages
When Mayor R.T. Rybak officiated 46 same-sex weddings in the early morning of Aug. 1 -- the day same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota -- the ceremonies took place at his stomping grounds, Minneapolis City Hall.

But now, Rybak is taking his support for gay marriage on the road. This morning, he arrived in Chicago to unveil a new ad campaign designed to entice Illinois's same-sex couples to bring their wedding parties -- and wedding dollars -- to Minneapolis.

See Also:
- Gay marriage could boost Minnesota economy by $45 million, says report
- VIDEO: Watch Minnesota's first two same-sex newlyweds say their vows
- The 12 best things about gay marriage in Minnesota

"I hope the day comes very soon that all Illinoisans can marry the person that they love, and I strongly encourage the legislature and Governor Quinn to pass marriage equality as soon as possible," Rybak said in a release. "But until that day comes, I'm here to steal your business."

He introduced the campaign, "I Want to Marry You in Minneapolis," at a community center in the city's most historically gay-friendly neighborhood, known as "boystown."

Already, the invitation has gotten one high-profile result: Making Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn go on the defensive.

"Thirteen states have extended marriage to all loving, committed couples -- but Illinois has not," Emanuel said in a joint statement with Quinn and other advocates yesterday. "That is bad for Chicago, bad for Illinois, and bad for our local economy and the jobs it creates."

All this economy talk isn't just hype: same-sex weddings, and their attendant guests and tourism, come with spending -- think parties, rentals, flowers, hotels -- that can be a boon for city business. Before Minnesota passed marriage equality, the Williams Institute at UCLA's law school issued a report estimating that the law could boost the state economy by $45 million over three years.

For Illinois, the institute's figure was even higher: as much as $103 million over three years. Three months ago, Illinois made an attempt of its own to legalize same-sex marriage, but it died in the state legislature.

In his quest to make Minnesota's civil rights victory into an economic one too, Rybak's not stopping with Chicago. Next up, he'll continue his pitch in Madison, Milwaukee, and Denver. Meet Minneapolis, the city's tourism board, isn't slouching either. It's co-sponsoring the out-of-state ad campaign, and is also offering wedding planning free of charge.

Update, 10:24 a.m.:

Here are the two ads, soon to be online and in print in Chicago publications, and created pro bono by local firm Zeus Jones.
Click to enlarge.

And here's the second:

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