Going to Disneyland? Wanna get married? Makes no difference who you are. Even
Same-sex weddings are coming out at Disneyland.
Walt Disney Co. said yesterday that gay couples can buy the company’s high-end Fairy Tale Wedding package that allows them to exchange vows at Disney’s theme parks and aboard its cruise ships, starting about $4,000 per wedding.
Same-sex couples have been allowed to use facilities on Disney grounds, such as banquet halls and conference rooms, for commitment ceremonies. But now, same-sex couples have access to the very public elements of the Fairy Tale Wedding plan, which includes a ceremony at one of the parks’ marriage pavilions; Disney costumed characters at the reception; and a ride in a horse-drawn, glass-enclosed carriage through Disney property.
“This is the very logical extension of a business we are already in,” said Leslie Goodman, senior vice president for communications for Disney Parks and Resorts, which operates Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in Southern California and the company’s cruise ships. Disney sells about 2,000 such packages each year, it said. Depending on the couples’ desires, the cost of Fairy Tale Weddings can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.
An encouraging move, but not a surprising one. For Disney, and everybody else, it’s just good business.
Don’t get me wrong. Nothing would warm my heart more than seeing two men or two women exchanging vows at Cinderella’s castle, and to believe that Disney’s corporate heart was warmed by the same. And maybe it is. But let’s not forget that Disney is a business, and research suggests that gay marriage is good for business.
Back in 2004, the Congressional Budget Office reported that recognizing same-sex marriage could boost the economy by $1 billion.
An economic analysis of same-sex marriage by the Congressional Budget Office shows that the federal government would see a $1 billion annual increase in revenue by recognizing same-sex couples.
According to the report, “In some cases, recognizing same-sex marriages would increase outlays and revenues; in other cases, it would have the opposite effect. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that on net, those impacts would improve the budget’s bottom line to a small extent: by less than $1 billion in each of the next 10 years (CBO’s usual estimating period).”
Another study from UCLA, last year, said that spending on the wedding industry alone could be in the neighborhood of $2 billion. And if you’re doing it at Disneyland, you’re doing it all at Disneyland. You’re you’re using their caterers, their florists, their facilities, their musicians, etc. Remember, their wedding packages start at $4,000, and that’s probably not counting travel.
And this is Disney we’re talking about here. They gave employees domestic partnership benefits in 1996, and more than survived a boycott from the Southern Baptist, posting record profits that year. Disney’s grown since then, and anyone who wants to boycott everything associated with Disney may be surprised how long that list has grown since then. Especially if you consider that as of last year almost half the Fortune 500 offered domestic partnership benefits, and 80% included sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies.
If anything, Disney knows even better now what they knew in 1996, which is something pretty well spelled out in the UCLA report: happy employees are good for business.
“Policymakers and businesspeople have not fully recognized the enormous potential gains to the economy from treating same-sex couples equally,” noted Dr. M. V. Lee Badgett, study co-author and research director of the Williams Institute. Click here to view website.
“Our study shows that equal treatment of couples in the business world attracts heterosexual employees and creates more productive workplaces for gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees.”
The study documents numerous research findings on different aspects of the economy.
Gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) employees who get domestic partner benefits are more open in the workplace and have better mental health outcomes than employees that do not get such benefits according to the report.
It’s good business and good employee relations.
And let’s be honest. If it weren’t for gay people, Disney’s gates would be padlocked shut by now. After all, who would write the music and lyrics for its movies. (No Elton John, no Lion King. No Howard Ashman, no The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, or Beauty and the Beast.) For that matter,who would animate their movies? Who would perform in their parks? (My guess is that at least a few of those Disney characters who turn up at your wedding will be queer, and the musicians, and the caterers, and the florist, etc.)
Does Disney want to make itself less attractive to potential gay & lesbian employees? Their brand is big enough that they can survive a boycott, but they need talented, creative people to keep the gates of the magical kingdom open. A little fairy dust goes a long way towards doing that. And Southern Baptists aren’t queueing up to work at Disney anyway. But they’ll buy the DVDs for their kids, even if it means having to hide them when the preacher comes over for dinner. So, opening the park to same-sex weddings just means more profit. (On that, even a conservative like Stephen Miller and I agree.)
Honestly though, like Scott over at The Gay Parenting Show, I don’t think we’ll be partaking of Disney’s wedding package. I tend to shake my head at the insanity of the wedding industry, and the idea of spending “tens of thousands” or more on what amounts to a 30 minutes ceremony at most and a party afterwards, as I noted when I discovered we scored our first gay “Bridezilla”:
It ain’t the wedding that’s important, but the marriage. And that begins the moment you walk back up the aisle stretches forth from there into days, months, and years. Frankly, I’ll settle for a 10 minute ceremony before a justice o’ the peace and a reception that doesn’t amount to much more than a modest dinner with friends, as long as I know we’ll spend the rest of our lives together. (And, of course, so long as I know we have the same rights and protections as any other family.) If people invested half as much in their marriages as they do in their weddings, they might not feel they need to “save” it from us.
When it’s legal, most likely the hubby and I will take a quick trip down to the courthouse and have a small reception afterwards. We have discussed the possibility of being married at sea if we go on a cruise with R Family Vacations. (Possibly next year, depending on when we have kid no. 2.) Alternately, we could hightail it to Canada and get hitched on Logo’s First Comes Love.
But even if we do any of the above, we’d still be down at the courthouse the very day it’s legal, for a lot less than $4,000. So, sorry Disney. But, still, thanks. It’s nice to know we could get Cinderella’s castle, if it isn’t booked. Any chance you could get Johnny Depp to officiate as Captain Jack Sparrow? That would go a long way towards convincing me. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more info about celebrities weddings and more.