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Legalizing gay marriage could help Las Vegas wedding industry

Legalizing gay marriage could help Las Vegas wedding industry

CREATED Mar. 26, 2013

 Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Las Vegas is already one of the biggest wedding destinations in the world, so legalizing gay marriage could mean a surge in revenue for the local wedding industry.

The Gay Chapel of Las Vegas does not discriminate. For 14 years, same-sex ceremonies have taken place there, so no one is more eager for the marriage ban to be lifted than owner Ron Decar.

They perform move than 500 weddings a month, about 10 percent of those are same-sex. He says business could increase at least 25 to 30 percent.

"We are the marriage capitol of the world -- why not be the lesbian and gay marriage capitol of the world?" Decar asks.

Mya Reyes formed the Las Vegas Gay Visitor's Bureau last year after years at the LVCVA. She says tapping into revenue is a no-brainer.

"We'd realize $50 million in untapped economic impact into the city, and that's tremendous," said Reyes.

She says New York City collected more than $250 million in revenue after lifting the marriage ban. Las Vegas could see the same benefit for cab drivers, hotels, restaurants and even florists.

While many chapels will want to take advantage of performing gay marriage ceremonies, there are also chapels who may not want to take advantage of the added revenue.

Places like the Little White Wedding Chapel currently choose not to perform same-sex ceremonies -- but would they change their policy?

"I really can't imagine why they wouldn't, because we're all in the business for revenue," said Reyes. "But the only think I can think of is for religious reasons or personal reasons that I wouldn't be able to relate to because I wouldn't be able to understand that." 

For now, Ron and his partner will continue their wedding business, but hopes someday he too can say "I do."