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Minneapolis mayor invites gay Chicagoans to head north, marry, spend

Al Giraud right wipes tear from his eye as his partner Jeff Isaacsleft reads his wedding vows as Mayor R.T.

Al Giraud, right, wipes a tear from his eye as his partner Jeff Isaacson, left, reads his wedding vows as Mayor R.T. Rybak officiates their ceremony at Minneapolis City Hall on Aug. 1. | AP Photo

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Updated: October 7, 2013 12:45PM

The mayor of Minneapolis is unveiling an ad campaign in Chicago on Thursday designed to draw same-sex couples who can’t legally get married in Illinois to his home state.

Mayor R. T. Ryback’s message is simple: Head to his city, get hitched and spend some money.

“We hope you get [same-sex marriage] soon, but until you do, we’re here to steal your business,” said Ryback spokesman John Stiles.

Rybak — who personally married 46 couples the first few hours same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota — will reveal the ads during a 9 a.m. news conference Thursday at the Center on Halsted, an LGBT community center in Lake View.

Gay marriage is big business for states that have legalized it. In the first year gay marriage was legal in New York City, the local economy saw a boost of $259 million, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office.

Illinois’ economy stands to earn $103 million from gay marriage revenue in the first three years after legalization, according to a study by UCLA Law School’s Williams Institute, which researches gender identity and sexual orientation law and policy.

The failure of Illinois legislature to pass same-sex marriage is “bad for Chicago, bad for Illinois, and bad for our local economy and the jobs it creates,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

“Our robust tourism and hospitality industries will thrive most fully when our state hangs out the ‘welcome’ sign for everybody.”

Illinois legislators are expected to vote on a gay marriage bill this fall.

Emanuel has made tourism increases a major goal of his administration, including a $278 million remodel of Navy Pier.

The digital and print ads have been placed in the Red Eye and the Windy City Times so far, said Stiles, but Rybak plans to expand the ads to Wisconsin and Colorado.

“Hop on a quick flight . . . head straight to Minneapolis,” Stiles said. “We want your money.”


Twitter: @dhnovak

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