Travel industry organizations and suppliers issued
statements in support of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on Friday that same-sex
marriage is a Constitutional right, offering their take on how the decision
will impact the industry.
“Under U.S. law now, same-sex marriage ceremonies that are
performed lawfully under the rules of a given destination must be recognized
anywhere in the United States once those LGBT couples return home,” Lisa
Sheldon, executive director of the Destination Wedding & Honeymoon
Specialists Association (DWHSA), said in a statement.
“This ruling makes it much easier for our LGBT clients to
plan the destination wedding of their dreams without worrying about whether the
authorities in their states will recognize the marriage once they return home.”
The decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges ruled that
“the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the
person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the
Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right
and that liberty. Same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to
The Supreme Court wrote in its decision that the Fourteenth
Amendment requires states to recognize same-sex marriages validly performed out
"Global gay and lesbian travelers want to experience destinations where their relationships are respected, and now the U.S. will be one of them." — John Tanzella, International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association
“Since same-sex couples may now exercise the fundamental
right to marry in all states, there is no lawful basis for a state to refuse to
recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another state on the ground
of its same-sex character,” the ruling stated.
Thirty-seven states plus the District of Columbia had
recognized same-sex marriages before today’s Supreme Court ruling. In those
jurisdictions, travel agent clients who got married lawfully in a destination
wedding ceremony used the official marriage license to register their union
with local officials (such as county clerks, for example) after the trip.
The 13 remaining states that now must comply with today’s
Supreme Court decision (Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri,
Mississippi, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas)
will begin implementing the legal changes to recognize lawfully conducted
same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, including destination weddings,
according to Sheldon.
DWHSA said that it will conduct training for its members to
help them advise LGBT clients on today’s court decision.
John Tanzella, president and CEO of the International Gay
and Lesbian Travel Association, applauded the ruling.
“We celebrate a great victory for equality and love today,
as the United States becomes the 20th country in the world to grant nationwide
marriage rights to same-sex couples,” Tanzella stated. “Global gay and lesbian
travelers want to experience destinations where their relationships are
respected, and now the U.S. will be one of them.”
In light of the decision, Custom New Orleans, a destination
management company, immediately created a new gay wedding planning division.
“Today’s historic decision by the Supreme Court provides New
Orleans a unique opportunity to be a top destination for gay weddings,” stated Carling
Dinkler III, president of Custom New Orleans. “We have created a division to
meet the needs of those who choose the city for their weddings.”
Other travel companies expressed their support on social
“Today we join our employees and customers in celebration of
marriage equality: http://delta.com/prideinflight. #LoveWins,” Delta tweeted.
American Airlines tweeted: “We’re on board. Diversity
strengthens us all & today we celebrate #MarriageEquality & the
landmark #SCOTUS decision.”