As soon as same-sex marriage became legal in Florida, the Keys tourism council was on LGBT websites and blogs advertising the islands as a wedding destination.
“The Florida Keys has long been a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons,” said Harold Wheeler, director of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. He’s hoping the same will apply for same-sex couples.
The Keys have a long history as a gay-friendly destination, too, and the TDC has targeted that market for years with special events, promotions and advertising.
“The TDC is responding quickly to take advantage of Key West’s esteemed reputation as an all-welcoming destination.”
And while the tourism industry is hoping to bring more dollars into the community, at least one church is extending a hand to those who are already here, and may not have a lot of extra dollars to spend.
Kimberley Debus, a minister at the One Island Family Unitarian Universalist Church in Key West, was at the overnight ceremony for three gay couples in Key West, handing out postcards that proclaimed “We Want To Marry You!”
"We recognize that the state of Florida requires a waiting period and we also recognize that many couples who decide to get married right now are probably not financially ready to do so,” Debus said.
On Sunday, from 4 to 8 p.m., the church is offering free wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples at 801 Georgia St., Key West.
“And we’ll throw a little party and we’ll do individualized ceremonies, and we’ll do photographs and all the things you’re supposed to do for a wedding,” Debus said. “We feel it’s really important to provide a space for people who are looking for maybe a religious ceremony and don’t have the money and the ability to get it all together right away.”