GAY WED­DING BOOM HOPES Same sex marriage a busi­ness boost

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT tony. raggatt@ news. com. au

THE economies of Townsville and Mag­netic Is­land could see a gay- led re­cov­ery if the Fed­eral Govern­ment bows to pres­sure to le­galise same- sex marriage.

Op­er­a­tors in the wed­ding in­dus­try are un­sure just how much of a last­ing im­pact it would have, al­though they do be­lieve there could be a wed­ding sea­son boom as cou­ples who have been pre­vented from mar­ry­ing look to tie the knot.

“There could be a rush,” New Park Suit Hire and Menswear owner Ron McGinty said.

Busi­ness op­er­a­tors on Mag­netic Is­land say it alone hosts up to 300 wed­dings a year worth up to $ 10 mil­lion.

Mr McGinty said same- sex marriage would pro­vide a boost to his trade al­though he al­ready supplied stock to com­mit­ment cer­e­monies, civil un- ions and same- sex cou­ples get­ting mar­ried over­seas.

If same- sex marriage were le­galised in Aus­tralia, he said busi­ness would prob­a­bly “go through the roof”. “We are al­ready busy but we would be even busier,” he said.

Mr McGinty said there was a pe­riod dur­ing the Howard govern­ment when it ap­peared same- sex marriage would be le­galised and he noted a rush of in­quiries.

White House Bri­dal Bou­tique op­er­a­tor Deni McClure said it would def­i­nitely mean more busi­ness not just for sup­pli­ers to the wed­ding mar­ket in Townsville but Aus­tralia wide.

“It would def­i­nitely be good for the econ­omy in Aus­tralia,” Ms McClure said. “I’m sure all the wed­ding dress shops – un­less they had strong op­po­si­tion mo­rally or re­li­giously – would be say­ing, bring it on.”

Ms McClure said she had sold dresses to a cou­ple who went over­seas to marry.

Mag­netic Is­land marriage cel­e­brant Ber­nadette Smith, who pro­vides ser­vices for up to 80 wed­dings a year on the is­land, said it would be an in­ter­est­ing change to the mar­ket.

“I am look­ing for­ward to it hap­pen­ing, not just be­cause I am a marriage cel­e­brant, I agree with it,” Ms Smith said.

“Peo­ple who pro­vide all of the ser­vices will ben­e­fit. Syd­ney calls it the pink dol­lar and I think peo­ple un­der­es­ti­mate the pink dol­lar.”

Ms Smith agreed there could be a rush of peo­ple want­ing to marry. “There is a big op­por­tu­nity for Mag­netic Is­land and for Townsville. If we can make it a des­ti­na­tion for any type of wed­ding, ev­ery­body ben­e­fits,” she said.

Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

BRING IT ON: White House Bri­dal Bou­tique owner Deni McClure. CEL­E­BRANT BER­NADETTE SMITH

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