Rybak invites Chicago’s gay couples to marry in Minn.

by Alexi Gusso

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will travel to one of Chicago’s most high-profile gay neighborhoods Thursday to persuade same-sex couples to get married in Minnesota, the Associated Press reported

Chicago is Rybak’s first stop in the launch of “Marry Me in Minneapolis,” a digital ad campaign inviting same-sex couples from states where gay marriage is not legal to take advantage of Minnesota’s recent legalization.

Rybak also plans to travel to Colorado and Wisconsin and hopes the campaign will bring extra business to the city, as increased same-sex weddings could prove profitable.

"I love Chicago and love to come spend money there, but if people there don't get the rights they deserve, I am more than happy to have them come and spend their money in Minneapolis," Rybak told the AP.

The campaign comes in the midst of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s effort to increase tourism in his city, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"Thirteen states have extended marriage to all loving, committed couples – but Illinois has not. That is bad for Chicago, bad for Illinois, and bad for our local economy and the jobs it creates,” Emanuel said in a statement. "Our robust tourism and hospitality industries will thrive most fully when our state hangs out the 'welcome sign' for everybody." 

A bill to legalize gay marriage failed to come to a vote in the Illinois Legislature last spring, as legislators requested more time to consider it.

Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage last month.