With several states having had their bans on same sex marriage declared unconstitutional and the Supreme Court poised to deliver a decision in favor of marriage equality, all bets are on 2015 being the year of LGBT Marriage Equality. So there’s a nice symmetry to the fact that 2015 is also the 5th anniversary of the Ultimate LGBT Wedding and Anniversary Expo in Detroit, Michigan.
The event took place on March 21st and proved to be a huge success, blending both wedding services and a look at what lies ahead for LGBT couples. Vendors included the types of companies you’d expect like bakers, catering outfits, fashion and photography – all the makings of a wedding to remember. Vendors offered up everything from LGBT themed wedding cake ideas to gay friendly wedding band sets. Adoption agencies and fertility clinics are happy to fill in couples abut options for building a family and community organizations and realtors are now reaching out to the LGBT community more proactively, helping couples to find the perfect neighborhood and the perfect home to begin their Happily Ever After.
The Ultimate LGBT Wedding and Anniversary Expo is the work of the Pride Source Media Group, publishers of the weekly newspaper Between the Lines which focuses on an array of issues facing the LGBT community. Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan the company sits 20 miles west of Detroit. For LGBT supporters, the proximity to America’s underdog city is seen as something of cosmic symmetry.
There was a time when Detroit was a booming city, the home of America’s “Motor City” and home to what was thought to be the future of American craftsmanship and innovative design. Instead, a number of social and economic factors in the 1970s and 80s saw car companies pull out of the region and to farm the jobs out internationally. Once these companies left, Detroit spent several years on the brink of bankruptcy. Over the course of just a few years the city went from being one of the most desirable cities in the country to declaring bankruptcy in 2013.
Still, Detroit has always been something of a comeback city. As the city rebounds, it’s become a home to many grassroots movements as its residents and small business owners begin to rebuild. Urban farming, eclectic and niche small businesses, tech-savvy companies and LGBT rights have all found fertile soil in what was once America’s hub of innovation and industry.
Does the LGBT Community Need a Wedding Expo?
But, still, when Pride Source first decided to host an LGBT wedding expo back in 2010 same-sex marriage was banned in Michigan, along with several other states. So when they announced and advertised the upcoming event on social media, plenty of people wondered if it was worth the trouble. The Between the Lines staff decided to address these questions head-on and published a lengthy response in the run-up to their second Expo a year later. Simply put, they broke down the reasons in favor of having the expo into four basic points
- As a way to connect the LGBT community with friendly and welcoming vendors
- It showed lawmakers and the public there was a demand
- Legally or not, LGBT couples have always found ways to declare, affirm and celebrate their unions
- To highlight to businesses just how many customers they could have
Today, five years later, same-sex marriages are allowed in the majority of states with national approval looming on the horizon. National and local companies have also realized the demand for LGBT friendly services and they’ve also seen how dedicated these couples and the LGBT community at large is when it comes to pursuing their legal and cultural right to be married.
With marriage equality finally gaining traction on a federal level, the Ultimate LGBT Wedding and Anniversary Expo offers couples advice and insight based on several years of experience on the front lines of promoting LGBT rights. They’ve brought together a wide variety of vendors who can cater to any wedding related need as well as some service professionals who simply want to reach out to the LGBT community to show their strength and support. The expo has come to represent more than just another wedding show, it’s become a symbol for the growing recognition and support society has for all couples, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.