Two wedding expos set for the Indianapolis area will give same-sex couples the ability to choose businesses that support their right to marry.

The Indianapolis Star reports Indiana's first same-sex wedding expo will be held Sunday at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville. The second will be held next month in downtown Indianapolis.

The expos come on the heels of a recent fight over Indiana's religious objections law that critics feared could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The law sparked boycotts of the state and nationwide criticism.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence quickly asked lawmakers to draft changes to the law and clarify that it could not be used as a license for discrimination. He signed a revised version of the legislation last week.

But expo organizers say planning was in the works long before the law became a national gay-rights issue.

Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Chairman Don Burrus said a wave of same-sex couples began planning big ceremonies in Indiana when gay marriage was legalized last year by federal courts.
The wedding industry has started to notice as well, and more than 30 businesses, including caterers, photographers and hair stylists, will be at Sunday's expo.

"The community wants to work with people who are welcoming and accepting," Burrus said. "It's a very special time when you are planning a wedding. No one wants to be told by a vendor that they won't serve you."

Greg Hasty and C.J. Vallero, plaintiffs in the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit that made same-sex marriage legal in Indiana, were officially married in June, but they plan to spend about $40,000 on their wedding in September.

"I want to patronize a business that supports things I care about," Hasty said.

Expo organizers say the market for same-sex weddings is bound to get bigger and the Indiana LGBT Wedding Expo will grab a slice of this new niche in the wedding business.

Kim Hightower, owner of Kim's Kakery, Bakery and Cafe, said she is eager to take part in the history-making event.
"We're not here to judge," Hightower said. "You're free to love who you want, and we're here to celebrate that with you."


BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS