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Tarrytown Hotel Sees Effects of Legal Gay Marriage

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- The legalization of same-sex marriage in New York State isn’t just affecting gay couples: it also affects those in the wedding industry. For one Tarrytown hotel, it means an increase in couples booking wedding ceremonies.

The Tarrytown House Estate said they saw a rise in inquiries for weddings “almost instantly” after the New York State Senate passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it into law Friday evening, according to regional vice president of sales and marketing Steve Sackman. By the following Monday, Sackman said they had half a dozen gay couples calling to ask about booking a wedding there.

“Certainly people out there are looking to do this as soon as possible,” Sackman said.

Lawmakers passed the same-sex marriage bill in the Senate with a vote of 33 to 29 on June 24. The Assembly had previously passed the bill and both branches of government passed amendments that give greater protection to religious organizations.

New Yorkers must wait 30 days from the bill’s passing for the law to take effect.  Sackman said that at his hotel, the earliest date a same-sex couple has booked their wedding is 60 days out. He noted that space is always limited and most couples, same-sex or not, start planning their weddings a year before the actual ceremony.

But, Sackman noted, gay couples have been together for a long time and “there’s a strong sense of urgency,” he said from some couples now that the bill has passed.

New York is now the sixth state that has legalized same-sex marriages, joining Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

Sackman noted that the hotel has seen a demand in the past from gay couples who wanted to have a reception after marrying in a neighboring state. Now, he said, there’s obviously going to be a much bigger demand.

Sackman said the hotel had experienced a “softer” result in 2009 and 2010 because of the economy, although 2011 has been very strong. The hotel is predicting 2012 to be even better, and the recent legalization of same-sex marriage would only take it further.

That economic impact will spread to others too, Sackman predicted: florists, caterers and even linen suppliers will see a boost from the bill’s passage. Sackman said they think the result is going to be a “huge positive” for the state's economy and for their business.

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