Desert Businesses Clamor to Attract Same Sex Weddings

By Jackie Devereaux

By Jackie Devereaux

PALM SPRINGS – The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a historic ruling on Wednesday, Jun. 26 to grant same sex marriages across the nation. In their ruling on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8, the justices overturned a previous lower court ruling which declared same sex marriage unconstitutional.

Within minutes of the landmark ruling, local hoteliers and wedding planners scrambled to promote Palm Springs as a premiere wedding destination.

“The Supreme Court’s historic action today overturning DOMA and dismissing the appeal of California’s Proposition 8, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in our state is a huge victory for the LGBT community. This is about equal rights and I am gratified that the court has recognized that we are all the same,” said Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet.

“My husband Christopher and I look forward to same-sex weddings commencing again in the state of California – and rest assured the City of Palm Springs will continue to be a destination committed to celebrating the institution of marriage, both heterosexual and same-sex,” Pougnet said in a prepared statement

“Riverside County is prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and record their marriages immediately after the anticipated direction is received from the state and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Hopefully that day will be here soon,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on the matter of Hollingsworth v. Perry, making same sex marriage legal once again in the state of California.  This, together with the court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), is a major step forward not only for LGBT Californians, but for all people who resist discrimination in all of its forms and support equal protection under the law,” said Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez.

“Marriage validates the loving commitment between two people who seek to build and share a life together. It also confers benefits, protections, and responsibilities that should not be exclusive to straight couples. Thanks to these rulings, LGBT Californians will no longer be unjustly denied access to this profound experience,” Perez said.

“Though the struggle for equality continues, it is heartening to see that even in the five years that have passed since Proposition 8, our society continues to move towards fulfilling the promise of dignity, fairness, and justice for all Americans,” Perez added.

For those ready to celebrate and eager to start planning their big day and honeymoon, the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism has a new website,,  featuring full-service hotels, historic inns, vacation home rentals, LGBT resorts, as well as unique wedding locations that showcase the beauty and vibe of Palm Springs.

“Palm Springs has long been a romantic destination for couples looking for the perfect wedding and honeymoon,” said Mary Jo Ginther, Director of Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism.

To celebrate the ruling, hundreds of supporters are expected to gather in downtown Palm Springs on June 26 at the “Forever Marilyn” sculpture. Between August and November 2008, Palm Springs officials performed more than 600 civil same-sex ceremonies. Thirty-four same sex couples were married in downtown during a special event called “Palm Springs Celebration of Marriage,” organized by the City of Palm Springs.

Many of Palm Springs’ gay and lesbian resorts cater to the gay honeymoon market with romance packages and on-site ceremonies. Palm Springs has the largest collection of gay and lesbian resorts in the United States with nearly 30 gay and lesbian-owned and/or operated resorts and guesthouses. Full-service hotels, boutique hotels and vacation home rentals also offer additional space for grand celebrations and family gatherings.

Palm Springs is less than two hours away from Los Angeles and San Diego. Daily flights are available to the Palm Springs International Airport from major U.S. cities and Canada.  Plan a destination wedding and honeymoon in Palm Springs at

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