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Minneapolis Mayor Courting Chicago Same-Sex Couples To Get Legally Married In His State

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MINNEAPOLIS GAY MARRIAGE
Al Giraud, right, wipes a tear from his eye as his partner Jeff Isaacson, left. reads his wedding vows as Mayor R.T. Rybak officiates their ceremony at the Minneapolis Freedom to Marry Celebration and Weddings at Minneapolis City Hall, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. They were the first gay couple legally married in Minnesota. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs) | AP

The mayor of Minneapolis is courting gay and lesbian couples in Chicago hoping to entice them into getting legally hitched in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes."

This Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is kicking off his campaign at the Center On Halsted in which he'll invite the Windy City's same-sex couples to travel to his town for their wedding.

"We're talking to same-sex couples in neighboring states where it's on the docket," Minneapolis mayoral spokesman John Stiles told NBC Chicago. "Our message is that they should adopt it. Until then, we're here to steal your business."

The ad campaign sponsored by the city's convention and tourism association, Meet Minneapolis, will launch various print and digital ads in Chicago-area publications later this week.

Kirsten Montag, marketing and communications manager for Meet Minneapolis, told DNAnifo Chicago the city is offering itself as an alternative to people who would have otherwise flown to states like New York or California.

"A lot of people may not want to travel that far. We're a Midwestern city. We're a drivable distance," Montag said. "It’s just an easy trip, and we think that friends and family want to join them."

According to a release:

"Mayor Rybak is a long-standing advocate for the freedom for all couples to marry and was a leader in the fight to enact marriage equality in Minnesota. He strongly encourages the Legislature and Governor Quinn to pass marriage equality in Illinois — but until they do, he wants same-sex Chicago and Illinois couples to marry in Minneapolis."

Same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota Aug. 1. On just the first day the law was in effect, Mayor Rybak officiated the marriages of 46 same-sex couples in what his office said was a "night-long celebration in the Rotunda of Minneapolis City Hall that ended at 6:45 a.m."

In a crushing blow to same-sex marriage advocates, the House failed to vote on a same-sex marriage bill before the Illinois Legislature's spring session expired, delaying the bill until at least fall.

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