Wedded to Change
Five Years of Same-Sex Marriage, the impact of COVID-19 on weddings and plantation venue activism
The past half-decade has proven eventful for the wedding industry, which for centuries was steeped in seemingly unmovable traditions.
Today, June 26, 2015, marks the landmark decision five years ago, by the Supreme Court which ruled 5-4 that the right to same-sex marriage is guaranteed by the Constitution, making it legal in all 50 states. On the day of the historic decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”
The decision could only mean good things for New Orleans, a popular wedding and event destination with a large LGBTQ community. In 2018, we wrote a follow-up marking the third anniversary of the historic decision and a few wedding industry insiders told “Let Them Eat Cake” that “since the Supreme Court decision in 2015, they’ve seen a marked increase in same-sex weddings, both for local and destination couples.”
Nationally, the UCLA School of Law reported that 293,000 same-sex couples have married since the 2015 decision. Additionally, in the same study, it was concluded that same-sex weddings have generated $3.8 billion for local and state economies since 2015. Click here to read our original blog post and here for the three-year follow-up.
The entire wedding industry has been impacted this year with coronavirus shutdown mandates closing many businesses for months, and shaking up the structure of weddings and events in the city and around the country. Click here to read a recent interview with Sarah Hall, president of Joel Catering, on the coronavirus impact on weddings in New Orleans.
In addition to the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on the wedding industry for both couples and vendors a movement is afoot. Earlier this year (pre-coronavirus), New Orleans Bride Magazine editor Melanie Warner Spencer sat down with the WWLTV/WUPL “Morning Show” to discuss the civil rights advocacy group Color of Change’s call to action to plantations that hold weddings and events to revise their policies when it comes to the history of slavery at the plantations throughout the south and how those venues are marketed to couples.
Read a full report on the UCLA School of Law study by NBCnews.com here.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, as couples and vendors continue to navigate new territory on many fronts, one thing is for certain, when it comes to weddings, love is not cancelled.