Seattle wants more LGBT visitors, and to help entice them it’s launched a “Marry Me in Seattle” program and sweepstakes to highlight the city’s welcoming culture — and marriage equality. ‘
The first winners — there’s one all-expenses-paid wedding a month from September through December — got married on Wednesday. Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle’s first openly gay mayor, joyfully officiated at the marriage of Zac Baker and Sam Busch, from St. Paul, Minn. Murray also proclaimed it “Zac and Sam” day, and some city buildings were lit with rainbow lights and hoisted rainbow flags.
The couple’s wedding package included free flights on Alaska Airlines, a four-day stay at the Renaissance hotel, a wedding ceremony at Canlis restaurant and other donations from more than 20 businesses.
Hundreds of couples have entered the wedding sweepstakes, for “First Wednesday” hosted weddings, according to Visit Seattle, the city’s marketing bureau.
The LBGT (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender) community is a major tourism market for cities, including Seattle. Community Marketing and Insights, a San Francisco-based company, estimates the annual economic impact of LGBT travelers is over $100 billion annually in the U.S. alone.