We’ve been doing commitment ceremonies at Chase Court since I started the business in 2002. In 2004, I was interviewed by a reporter for the Washington Post because I was preparing to exhibit at a gay wedding expo in DC. In the course of the interview the reporter asked if I had anything on my web site (which even then had a lot of pages) about commitment ceremonies. I had to say that I did not. I didn’t feel good about that.
There were, in my thinking, pros and cons about being ‘out’ about doing commitment ceremonies. The most obvious pro is that it might attract more gay and lesbian couples. The con I was most concerned about was the possibility of scaring off business from straight couples who oppose what we do. This was at a time when the business was still relatively new and things were tight financially. Up until that conversation, the cons outweighed the pros.
I realized at that moment, in that conversation with the reporter, that I needed to walk my talk. A full page on commitment ceremonies was up on the web site within the week. I haven’t looked back since.
The results? Not a flood, but in 2009 and 2010 commitment ceremonies account for about ten percent of our business. That’s not bad.
Do we lose some business because we do commitment ceremonies? Maybe. Does that matter? Not one bit. We’re doing what we believe, and it feels good.
The most unexpected result is that every now and again a heterosexual (or, perhaps, bi) bride tells me during the course of a tour how much she appreciates that we do commitment ceremonies and that it is one of the things that brought her to Chase Court. That always brings tears to my eyes. Even now. It was a good decision.
Tonight the Baltimore Sun published an article about Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler’s strong support and work toward recognizing and legalizing same -sex marriage in Maryland. Here’s a link to the article. It’s a good piece, worth reading.
Attorney General Gansler is running for re-election this year, and according to the article, maybe for governor in 2014. If you believe that same-sex couples that want to be – or are – wed should have the same opportunities under Maryland law as heterosexual couples, there are plenty of tangible ways to support one good man who is doing what he believes. This could be the time to walk your talk. —David