Category Archives: Gay Hotels
Marriott International Celebrates Inclusion with Powerful LGBT Portraits by Noted Photographer Braden Summers
Marriott International today launches #LoveTravels, a multicultural campaign that conveys the company’s commitment to make everyone feel comfortable being who they are, LGBT and GAY, everywhere they travel. To bring #LoveTravels to life, Marriott has partnered with photographer Braden Summers to share exclusive and powerful images celebrating inclusion as part of its new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) social media and marketing campaign. Summers’ unique ability to capture warmth and emotion perfectly communicates the company’s welcoming approach to hospitality.
A new revolution has quietly been brewing in Havana, Cuba which could make it the next great gay travel destination.
The gay scene in Havana is beginning to sizzle after years of repression. Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela, has even participated in a gay rights march and Brokeback Mountain has been seen on government television.
While gay life is still largely underground, one of the most amazing scenes occurs every night in Havana starting at about 11:00 pm where La Rampa Street and the Malecon, an ocean front walk, intersect. On weekends you’ll see hundreds of guys strolling, chatting, and playing guitars all night until the sun rises. Talk to the right people and you’ll get an invitation to one of the private home parties that pop up in different locations throughout the week.
Travel blogger, Ryan C Haynes, offers his advice on staying safe and having fun in the Cuban capital’s gay scene….
There are certainly areas in the Vedado area (the downtown and a vibrant neighborhood in the city of Havana, Cuba) where you will find a thriving gay community. Calle 23 is the centre of gay life, near the Cine Yara (cinema). This street is frequented by gay people night and day – but don’t expect it to be anything like major cosmopolitan cities.
The one gay venue on this street is more like a canteen than a party establishment, though get talking to one of the locals and they will invite you to the official gay party that evening. If you want to join in the official parties you need to put faith and trust in the local Cubans who will order a taxi and take you to the chosen event. However be aware that you will most likely be expected to pay the taxi fair, entrance fee and possibly a drink for the guide. Read More Here.
HAVANA CUBA – Before the Communist revolution, Havana was one of the vacation hot-spots of the Caribbean, and since Cuba reopened to tourism in the 1990s, it has become a popular destination once again.
The capital of Cuba, Havana is the largest city in the Caribbean, and one of the most culturally rich urban centres in the world. The city’s appreciation of its glorious colonial past is on display at a dizzying array of castles, cathedrals, mansions and museums. The historic neighborhood of Vieja Habana (Old Havana) is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site, with over 900 landmarks, including the Presidential Palace and Cathedral Square.
IN the Plaza Vieja of Havana, is a quaint independent gay friendly apartment for rent! Bohemia Boutique Apartment.
It has been listed by the Guardian as one of the top 10 places to stay in Havana. The apartment is fully furbished, plenty of light and very well ventilated.
1 living room with kitchenette, 2 balconies (facing the Patio of the Palace), 1 spacious bedroom with air conditioning, 1 bathroom.
Daily rent 80 CUC (66 EUR or 80 USD) SEE MORE HERE
PLUS the owners have just opened CAFE BOHEMIA in the same building.
On the renovated and luminous Plaza Vieja in Old Havana, Café Bohemia was recently opened in loving memory of Cuban journalist Ricardo Sáenz, member of the prestigious group that founded Prensa Latina, and which included Jorge Ricardo Massetti, Gabriel García Márquez and other icons of journalism in Latin America.
Thanks to its location in the cool inner courtyard of the colonial building, Café Bohemia is perfect for taking a break from long walks and seeking shelter from the stifling Cuban heat as you explore the Havana’s Historical Center.
Entering the cool inner courtyard where Café Bohemia has set up shop you feel your temperature gauge go down a few notches. More than an escape hatch from Cuba’s sometime stifling heat this is meant to have a Bohemian vibe. A meeting place for Cuban musicians, singer-songwriters, authors and journalists, despite its touristy locale. READ MORE.
Summer is just around the corner! (I think!) and summer in Chicago is amazing!
You have got IML and the GRABBY AWARDS in May over Memorial Day weekend
PRIDEFEST will happen June 22nd & 23rd, 2014
Pride Day is June 29th, 2014
North Halsted Market Days will be August 9th and 10th, 2014
OUT IN THE PARK at Six Flags will be September 13th, 2014
SO BOOK YOUR ROOM NOW stay right in Boystown!
BroughtonHotels recently completed renovations on three historic Chicago boutique hotels, The Majestic Hotel (528 West Brompton), The Willows Hotel (555 West Surf), and City Suites Chicago (933 West Belmont). All have undergone stunning top-to-bottom transformations.
Originally built in the 1920s in Chicago’s Lakeview and Lincoln Park neighborhoods, each property features a renewed grandeur that includes sophisticated new guestroom and lobby furnishings, enhanced lighting, window treatments, linens, carpeting and beautiful custom artwork throughout. iHome docks are now in all guestrooms, and fiber optic internet has been installed in every hotel. California-based design firm AF Canta created the concept for the renovation.
“We are thrilled to introduce a stunning renovation that retains the charm that travelers have embraced at broughtonHotels. We look forward to welcoming guests to ‘live like a local’ and experience a stay in the unique neighborhood settings offered at these three special Chicago properties,” says CEO Larry Broughton.
The 52-room Majestic Hotel offers the refined tranquility of an old-world English country estate in the midst of the bustling East Lakeview neighborhood. Tucked amidst brownstones in a quiet upscale residential area one block from Lake Michigan, The Majestic Hotel is walking distance to Wrigley Field, minutes from downtown and steps from the eclectic attractions on Broadway, Halsted and Clark Streets. The elegant, re-designed lobby features sparkling Art Deco crystal chandeliers, comfortable furnishings, a wall-length vintage photograph of Wrigley Field on stretched canvas, and an expansive fireplace. The hotel’s guestrooms and suites now feature a color scheme with soothing neutral tones, luxurious new linens and window coverings, soft velvet throws, with plush new carpeting and tasteful wooden furniture. A renovated meetings and event space that can accommodate up to 25 guests provides the perfect setting for showers, parties and small business meetings.
The 55-room Willows Hotel, a storied landmark building that was a regular haunt of Al Capone, is a regal Parisian-inspired gem in the Lincoln Park area. Steps from the shops and restaurants on Clark and Diversey, and only two blocks from Lake Michigan, the Willows Hotel offers an enchanting retreat surrounded by stately Victorian greystone buildings. The highlight of the redesigned lobby is an exquisite fireplace, surrounded by communal gathering tables, rustic French country light fixtures and marble flooring. The redecorated guestrooms and suites include new furniture, carpeting, bed linens, and walls painted in a calming gray hue. The classic décor provides guests with a refined setting for business and leisure travel in one of Chicago’s most desirable neighborhoods.
The 45-room City Suites Chicago is an oasis of comfortable yet refined charm on Belmont Avenue near the nightlife, theaters and restaurants in the Boystown and Wrigleyville areas of Lakeview. The serene lobby is highlighted by neutral décor, a corridor lined with natural wood beams, an expansive fireplace and striking black and white photography. The tastefully redecorated guestrooms and suites offer the ambiance of a hip Chicago apartment and feature chic mid-Century modern touches with stunning light fixtures, black and white linens, new furniture and carpeting. City Suites Chicago is a two-minute walk to the Brown, Purple and Red Lines at the Belmont CTA stop, allowing guests convenient access to all of the attractions in Chicago.
Book now and get the exclusive BGC 20% off rate!
Willows Hotel –
About The Majestic Hotel, The Willows and City Suites Chicago
Located in Chicago’s vibrant Lakeview and Lincoln Park neighborhoods, The Majestic Hotel (528 West Brompton), The Willows Hotel (555 West Surf), and City Suites Chicago (933 W Belmont) offer guests luxurious comfort, timeless elegance and classic sophistication with first-class personalized service and amenities. Each broughtonHOTELS Chicago property offers a complimentary continental breakfast, 24-hour tea and coffee from local roaster Uncommon Ground, afternoon cookies, free wireless internet access, iHome docks in all guestrooms, luxury robes, and complimentary access to nearby upscale fitness centers.
Newport Beach, California-based broughtonHOTELS was founded in January 2001 by Larry Broughton. With nearly twenty hotel properties located throughout California and the Chicago area, and an eye on national expansion, the broughtonHOTELS team specializes in creating boutique hotel experiences with a distinctive point-of-view; putting the guest experience first by developing a warm, inviting atmosphere with service being paramount, and appropriate, for each property. Their portfolio of hotel properties continues to grow with an emphasis on the human component of the hospitality industry and not just the atmosphere and accoutrements of each hotel. To learn more about broughtonHOTELS visit www.broughtonHOTELS.com.
Sick of winter? I am!
there is still time to get away! And did you know? Prices drop in Puerto Vallarta April 22 – May 31st! $76-$96 at hotel Mercurio. And really discounted June 1 – October 31st! Just $65-$82.
Hotel Mercurio is Puerto Vallarta’s highest rated Gay Hotel, based on guest reviews (TripAdvisor.com and www.pinkchoice.com ). Known for outstanding and friendly service; exceptional value; gourmet breakfasts; and unbeatable location in the heart of the Gay neighborhood (Zona Romantica). One and a half blocks from the beach, and just a 5-minute walk to the Gay Beach.
Hotel Mercurio. The ambiance of a Bed & Breakfast, and friendly Mexican service that rivals much more expensive accommodations. Clean & comfortable rooms. Safe and secure. Gay owned, Gay staffed, for Gay & Lesbian guests. Hetero-friendly, too. There is no discrimination at Hotel Mercurio.
Hotel Mercurio. 28 rooms include refrigerators, cable television, air conditioning and ceiling fans, in-room safes, and top quality bedding and linens. Free wireless Internet and office center. Free Beach/Pool towel service. Free international calls. Laundry service available. Knowledgeable concierge. No other hotel in Vallarta offers so much for the price.
It was Latin Fever…then Vallarta Fever….now it’s
THE PVR 2013 Music + Culture Festival!
It’s still an amazing weekend! Bigger and better than ever!
Lots of parties and events and great people watching!
November 27th to December 1st 2013
Wednesday, Nov 27 SUNSET KICK-OFF @ Blue Chairs Rooftop 6pm-10pm
Wednesday, Nov 27 HOLA P.V. @ Paco’s Ranch 10pm-6am
Thursday, Nov 28 THANKSGIVING BASH! @ Enter Nightclub with DJ Hector Fonseca 10pm-6am
Friday, Nov 29 RIPTIDE @ Almar Beach Resort with DJ Manny Lehman 9pm-3am
Friday, Nov 29 AFTER-GLO @ Enter Nightclub with DJ Kidd Madonny décor by 3DX 3am-late (afterhours)*
Saturday, Nov 30 SQUIRT PARTY @ Blue Chairs Rooftop with DJ Kidd Madonny 4pm-9pm
Saturday, Nov 30 THE LEGENDARY WHITE PARTY @ OSCAR’s with DJ Isaac Escalante 10pm-3am
Saturday, Nov 30 WHITE-AFTER @ Enter nightclub 3am-late (afterhours)*
Sunday, Dec 1 ADIOS PVR! Party @ CC Slaughters 10pm-5am
* afterhours events are not included in the weekend pass
“Our management and staff are working hard to make HOTEL MERCURIO
the best vacation value in Puerto Vallarta. This means offering
excellent accommodations services, and “extra” perks to help make your
vacation unforgettable, all at an unbeatable price.
So we work with
local Puerto Vallarta businesses that we think will be of interest to
our guests: restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, etc… to put together
special hotel packages that are more than just your basic hotel stay.”
Axel Hotels announces that Axel Hotel Buenos Aires won’t be part of their portfolio any longer from October 1st on.
that we will never forget, and we want to thank all of you. This
decision represents a growth opportunity for Axel, as it will help to carry out the expansion plan in short term. Axel Hotel Buenos Aires has meant a very important step for the LGBT community in South America, especially in Argentina.
country, but there’s still a long way to go. We are happy to welcome you
at any of our Axel Hotels in Barcelona, Berlin and
Gran Canaria. We also hope to give you
soon good news about new destinations.”
For those who don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit Buenos Aires, from tomorrow, you can book and enjoy the same facilities through www.behotel.com.ar
in November following the Greater
Palm Springs Pride Festival so that
wish to may bookend their vacation to
Palm Springs and enjoy BOTH
As of this past month, our government here in the US is still saying, there is no recommendation against travel to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, and also Mexico City. THEY ARE SAFE!!!
3 hidden gems in the heart of Boystown, in Chicago!
Immerse yourself in the eclectic energy of Boystown Chicago. Steps from all three locations –
the Boystown area is the United States’ first officially recognized gay
village and a cultural center of our nation’s LGBT community. From
boutique shopping to unstoppable after-hours entertainment, Boystown
should definitely be at the top of your ‘Where to go in Chicago’ travel
Gay and Lesbian visitors will enjoy the trend-setting dining,
tantalizing spas, boutique shopping and bustling nightlife hotspots that
continue to re-invent the neighborhood.
Book now for your fun stay in Chicago!
WHALE OF A SEASON!
doesn’t take much for most people to recognize that Hawai’i is a special
place. But did you know that Hawai’i is home to what is believed to be
the largest seasonal population of humpback whales anywhere in the
winter, from November to May, visitors, residents, and ocean users in
Hawai’i share the ocean with thousands of humpbacks that migrate
thousands of miles from their northern feeding grounds to the warm,
shallow waters of the Hawaiian Islands where they mate, calve, and nurse
their young. For this reason the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale
National Marine Sanctuary (sanctuary) was designated to protect humpback
whales and their habitat in Hawai’i.
population of humpback whales (central North Pacific stock) that uses
Hawai’i’s waters as their principle wintering ground likely lies between
10,000 and 15,000 animals, although not all of these animals are in
Hawai’i at the same time during the season. The lower number represents a
population estimate determined by a comprehensive research effort done
between 2004 and 2006. The upper number represents a conservative
approximation of growth based on annual rate of increase determined in
2006 and observation of other population indicators indicating that the
population is likely still increasing.
whale season it is commonplace to see humpback whales resting near shore
as well as performing acrobatic displays that can be seen from miles
away. On one recent peak season day, researchers observed twenty
different mother calf pairs just in Maalaea Bay (the Maui Sunseeker is
located on the coast of this Bay).
no doubt that Hawai’i offers some of the most unique whale watching in
the world and that has led whale watching to become very popular among
both visitors and residents alike. There is nothing like experiencing
the breaches and tail slapping of humpback whales whether from boat or
shore, and, although populations seem to still be increasing the whales
still need our help! They are threatened by injuries caused by
collisions with vessels and by entanglement in fishing gear and marine
This season, four whales have been
reported and confirmed entangled and at least ten whales were confirmed
to have been involved in a collision with some type of vessel.
Monday, March 11, 2013, the sanctuary led a response effort to free an
entangled male humpback whale and the animal was successfully
disentangled in waters surrounding Maui. The entanglement involved
several wraps of small gauge line around the animal’s tail, which was
already cutting into the animal, making the entanglement life
threatening. In total, over 200 feet of line, and 2 buoys were recovered
from the entangled animal that swam off quickly once cut free. After
some investigation the animal appears to have been entangled in local
objective of the rescue program is not just to free animals but to also
gain information to reduce the future threat of entanglement.
help support this work and other work of the sanctuary by donating to
the Hawai’i National Marine Sanctuary Foundation or by supporting the
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Kohola Campaign.
Enjoy the whales and help protect them for future generations!
Christine Brammer, Communications Coordinator
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was designated
by Congress in 1992 to ensure the protection of humpback whales and
their habitat in Hawai’i.
sanctuary is managed jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) and the State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and
Natural Resources. The sanctuary focuses their management efforts focus
on education, outreach, research, and resource protection.
Visit us in person at:
Humpback Whale Sanctuary
Kihei, HI 96753
SPONSORED BY : MAUI SUNSEEKER LGBT RESORT
At the Maui Sunseeker we’ve taken every opportunity to make our studios,
rooms and suites especially inviting and comfortable. Our private
lanais with either garden or ocean views welcome you with true Hawaiian
certainly not alone, but as the weather starts to warm and the bar scene
beckons ever more urgently, I keep asking myself: Is this really a good
use of my time in Chicago, a progressive city with so much to do? Do I
need to bust out of Boystown for a change? I’m not so sure.
LGBT people understand what I’m talking about. Boystown is a gay
refuge, rainbow pillars and all. It’s become the place that we, as a
community, have built for ourselves over the years at times when most of
society told us we had no place. And in regards to going out, it’s a
community where many gay folks feel the most safe when tossing back a
Sure, society has come a long way in terms of LGBT rights, but things
aren’t really that perfect yet. We, as LGBT people, still have a lot of
things to worry about when thinking of going out for a night on the
(Please read his full article).
complex, serving as a travel and entertainment destination for visitors
and locals alike.Since it has opened, ,they are busy ALL THE TIME and get RAVE reviews from guests.
rooms, 3 outdoor courtyards, The Spa at the OUT NYC, a glass-covered
atrium, jacuzzis, steam room, sauna, 24-hour fitness center, XL
Nightclub, KTCHN Restaurant, and conference facilities available for
special events and catering.
rated 4 and 5 stars by travelers. Excellent, Top Notch, Faultless,
Flawless, Fantastic, Gorgeous….these are just some of the words,
guests have used, to describe THE OUT NYC!
Developers, a well known development company in New York are now
looking to expand their luxury brand to Chicago, Washington DC, and
possibly Milan. Making THE OUT, the best gay hotels in the WORLD!
located between Sidetrack and Mini Bar. And build up into the air,
several floors. 112 rooms of luxury on Halsted!
SIDETRACK & Minibar and across the street from Roscoe’s (the 3 top
grossing gay bars in Chicago); this is in the epicenter of Chicago’s
‘gayborhood’ appropriately called “Boystown”. This 4 star Urban Resort
complex will include..….
– ±112 boutique hotel rooms (including Shared Luxury Accommodations & Extended Stay Suites)
– 1500SF full service Spa, Gym & Wellness Center – “The Spa @ THE OUT”
– 2500SF of Conference/Meeting/Event Space
– 3000SF Fully Enclosed Glass Atrium Courtyard – 1500 SF Enclosed
Rooftop Bar & Lounge with spectacular views of downtown Chicago
– “KTCHN Art” Restaurant (consultation and possible partnership with Celebrity Chef Art Smith)
– 2000 SF “XL Minibar” with Dance/Cabaret Space (acquisition and
partnership and/or management contract is currently in negotiations with
– Marketing Partnership with Sidetrack Bar and access to their 15,000 sf bar complex from the THE OUT CHICAGO Lobby.
– BOUTIQUE lobby shop.
FODORS TOP 100: Our “Straight-friendly” Urban Resort (THE OUT NYC)
surrounding our XL Nightclub was named one of this year’s top 100 hotels
in the world by Fodors featured in the “Trendsetter” category and
featured on CNN.com and we are #3 on TripAdvisor (of 156 Specialty
Hotels in NYC).
THEOUTNYC.com (4 star resort + & $99 Euro style luxury hostel pods)
Xlnightclub.com (#1 night club in NYC)
Xlcabaret.com (major performance acts)
KTCHNnyc.com (Zagat favorite new restaurant)
Theoutnycspa.com (full service Spa&/gym)
KTCHN: Zagat –
NY Times Article – “To be a Hotel and Gay in NYu” http://travel.nytimes.com/
TIME Magazine Article – “I Had a Gay Old Time” http://www.time.com/time/
It could mean big things for Lake View and Boystown. A study of the community
has long identified it seriously lacks hotels, a part of the reason why
the Ricketts Family now plan to open one near Wrigley Field.
Officials with Ald. Tom Tunney’s office say a hotel in Boystown, however, might be just what the community needs.
“I actually followed up and saw the product, and it’s great,” said
Chief of Staff Bennett Lawson.
Is it safe to travel to
In a word, the answer is BIG yes! It is safe to travel to Puerto
PV is part of the very diverse and large Mexican state of
Jalisco. Some sensational news outlets have incorrectly reported that the US State
Department is warning against all travel to Jalisco. NOT TRUE.
The US Department of State said for Puerto Vallarta – There is no recommendation
against travel to Guadalajara and Puerto
Vallarta. There is also no recommendation against travel on principal
Jalisco between Guadalajara including the
portions that cross in to the southern portions of the state of Nayarit.
Also – Mexico City (also known as the Federal District): No advisory is in effect.
Puerto Vallarta’s Tourism Board has commissioned a study from the security consulting firm Thomas Dale and Associates (TDA).
The firm found that “the number of negative events involving foreigners
or non‐foreigners is fractional compared to the large ex‐pat resident
population and the millions of visitors that come to vacation each year
in Puerto Vallarta.”
you can read more at Visit Puerto Vallarta.
Unless you were under a rock the last few years, you could not help but hear how
dangerous parts of Mexico has become, and yes, it’s true drug wars have
escalated violence in parts of Mexico. “Collateral damage” the news calls it – which really means that innocent people
have been robbed, hurt or killed.
was. I walked the streets Vallarta alone day or night. I never felt
uncomfortable or scared.
or run-ins with bad guys or police (well, there was that ticket for
using my cellphone while driving…), ” says Paul who owns Hotel Mercurio.
Puerto Vallarta is the most visited gay destination in Mexico.
It has always been a safe place to live and visit and continues to be!
THE OUT NYC is New York’s first straight-friendly urban resort (NOT a
hotel) located in the epicenter of gay life – Hell’s Kitchen, steps from
Times Square and Chelsea. Live your own unforgettable experience with
the best of lodging, dining, nightlife and design all in one place – THE
Complete with 5000 square foot spa, and a Sun Deck to get your tan
on or watch an amazing sunset. Along one side is a glass reflecting pool
with a water room enclosed by cascading curtains of rain.
Secret Garden is tucked inside serene plantings of black bamboo. It’s a
quiet place to bring your laptop and a snack. Work or read at our long
sturdy tables. It’s also the right place to bring your yoga mat for
The Great Lawn @ THE OUT offers everything you need to enjoy the
great outdoors. The grass is green. The beanbag chairs are soft. There’s
enough green space on the Great Lawn for outdoor games or events. With a
hilled stage at the north end, it’s the perfect place for a wedding
ceremony, cocktail party or press junket. And whatever the occasion,
Ktchn can be there to cater your every culinary need.
THE OUT NYC concept has been so successful, developers are now
seeking to expand to other cities – and are looking at locations possibly in Washington DC and Chicago. One source told us The OUT is even looking at Milan, the fashion capital of the world, by year end!
Stay tuned! We’ll have
more details soon!
THE OUT NYC, Urban Resort.
Stay. Play. Eat. Chill. Revive.
510 West 42nd Street, New York City, NY 10036
Second season of ‘Hotel Impossible’ features a Maui, Hawaii resort that caters to the LGBT clientele.
“It was eye opening for all involved in this show” laughs Spence, “for us from a business perspective and for the cast when they discovered the clothing optional hot tub”.
Paradise is a strong word, and I don’t use it lightly. But Maui, Hawaii
is truly a paradise in every way.
It has glorious warm weather all
year, with just enough of a breeze from the trade winds to keep you
feeling refreshed. The tropical greenery and colourful flowers are
spectacular, and there’s nothing better than the relaxing sound of the
surf crashing on the beach as you drift off to sleep every night.
Wouldn’t you want to get married in Paradise?!
A gay Oklahoma City couple is happy to be on Maui and among the
first couples to be joined in a civil union after a state law allowing
such unions went into effect last Sunday.
“We are proud to be part of
it,” said 40-year-old Rich Tucker, a mortgage company owner, shortly
before his Monday sunset ceremony with partner 37-year-old David Dobson,
“We wanted to have the ceremony somewhere tropical. It’s awesome to have accepting people that accept everyone. No one
is segregated,” Tucker said about Hawaii and the civil unions law.
Dobson added: “In Oklahoma, it’s still very much the Bible Belt.”
Industry insiders have said they expect that the law legalizing civil unions, which took effect Jan. 1, will lead to a boost in tourism among same-sex visitors. Hotel executives said they’re actively reaching out to the gay and lesbian community with promotions and packages aimed at couples who are eager to make their commitment official.
“We’ve had 10 ceremonies booked so far,” said Chuck Spence, owner of the Maui Sunseeker LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) Resort in Kihei. “Already we’ve also seen an immediate boost in bookings, and not just because of civil unions, but because the law also opens up the perception by the gay and lesbian community that Hawaii is truly a welcoming state. We are aloha.”
Hawaii’s hard-fought civil unions law was bitterly opposed by conservative and Christian groups, who said the measure posed a threat to heterosexual marriage and traditional families.
Deacon Walter Yoshimitzu of the Honolulu Roman Catholic Diocese said marriage should be only between a man and a woman.
“Even with civil unions, we believe it is same-sex marriage by another name,” he said.
State Sen. Roz Baker, who represents West and South Maui and was a supporter of the civil unions bill, said she hoped the law would attract couples to Hawaii.
“Let’s face it, too, nowhere is the weather nicer, or are there as many beautiful places to visit year round, than in Hawaii,” she said, adding that “the wedding business has always been good to Maui.” Year round the weather is gorgeous!
But she and West Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey noted that the new civil unions license will be recognized only in Hawaii, so they anticipated it to attract a wave but not a tsunami of same-sex visitors.
“It’s not going to be a billion-dollar law,” McKelvey said.
More significant than its ability to attract visitors, he said, the law was important for gays and lesbians living in Hawaii, because it would give them the same rights as heterosexual couples.
“We still have a long way to go,” said spokesman Don Bentz for Equality Hawaii of Honolulu, a gay rights advocacy group. “If a couple, let’s say, comes from Florida (which doesn’t have gay marriage or civil unions), they have rights here but lose them after the plane ride.”
Frank and Kevin, who own a wedding service on Maui, have been performing ceremonies for heterosexual and gay couples, recognized or not, for many years. They’ve said they expect their numbers to go from nearly 40 ceremonies a year to more than 100.
Maui SunSeeker is going to provide group room discounts and gifts like champagne. Rich and David were the first guests to tie the knot!
He noted that they’re bringing friends – as others certainly will – and that the tourists will spend money at other Maui businesses.
“In regard to tourism, absolutely this will have a great impact. No question,” said Spence, whose hotel currently has 25 rooms and now plans to add more.
Applications and information about civil unions are available online at hawaii.gov/health.