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Ka-ching! Boro get$ ready for gay marriage - Brooklyn Paper

Ka-ching! Boro get$ ready for gay marriage

Borough President Markowitz hosted a champagne toast at Borough Hall on Wednesday to celebrate the legalization of gay marriage in New York. The vote could mean big money for Brooklyn religious leaders, restaurants, florists and caterers — who are already offering discounts to same-sex couples looking to tie the knot.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Now that gays can get married, the only color of the pride rainbow is green.

A mere 48 hours after the state legalized gay marriage, gay-friendly businesses and ministers started scrambling to offer wedding discounts to the first same-sex couples to tie the knot in Brooklyn this summer.

Greenpoint Reformed Church’s Rev. Ann Kansfield has vowed to officiate the borough’s first gay marriage — and she’s offering to hold the reception at her Milton Street church.

“Of course, we’d be more than happy to have small wedding parties in our social hall, which looks really pretty when it’s all decorated,” said Kansfield.

So far, Kansfield has booked two weddings, one for Labor Day weekend and one in October — but she’s still hoping to schedule a ceremony on July 24, the first day that the state officially recognizes same-sex marriage.

But she’s got a lot of competition.

Greenpoint ministers John Merz at Church of the Ascension and Griffin Thomas of Lutheran Church of the Messiah are open to officiating gay marriage ceremonies, as are All Souls Bethlehem Church Reverend Tom Martinez in Ditmas Park and Park Slope’s Rev. Cheri Kroon said she would be “willing to travel anywhere in Brooklyn” to officiate a gay marriage.

And don’t think we’re forgetting about the Jews.

If you’re a same-sex member of the tribe, Park Slope Rabbis Andy Bachman of Beth Elohim and Ellen Lippman of Kolot Chayeinu are looking forward to performing the gayest Jewish wedding since Will and Grace went off the air.

And Lippman, who has officiated at dozens of lesbian and gay Jewish weddings, is even planning her own ceremony for her and her partner later this summer.

“I am grinning non-stop and waiting for the end of July when the law will take effect,” Lippman wrote on her Facebook page. “What the new law gives us is the chance to marry civilly, to get a marriage license and the various rights it conveys.”

But religious leaders aren’t the only ones popping the champagne now that the law was changed.

Rev. Ann Kansfield has vowed to officiate the first gay wedding in Brooklyn — she’s already booked two ceremonies on Labor Day weekend!
Photo provided by Ann Kansfield

Brooklyn’s restaurants, hotels, caterers and floral shops should be cashing in with the wave of weddings that will be thrown together in the next few months.

State officials estimate that legalized gay marriage could bring in a $391 million windfall, as 21,000 couples are expected to wed in New York this year, in addition to the 45,000 people from less-tolerant neighboring states, such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where gay marriage isn’t legal.

Count Borough President Marty Markowitz among those GLAAD that gay marriage passed — and that Brooklyn will receive the benefits.

“This is a win-win for businesses but I think the couples will benefit the most — they have the same rights and responsibilities that heterosexual couples will enjoy and that means equality in eyes of the law. They win most of all.”

Some businesses are already putting together special rates for gay couples eager to get hitched.

DUMBO’s Water Street Restaurant and Underwater Lounge will announce its discount packages for gay couples this week, while Irondale in Fort Greene is offering a 50-percent discount for same-sex weddings.

And the Skylight One Hanson, a reception hall inside the borough’s most phallic-shaped building, is offering a 20-percent discount for gay weddings on account of the state’s watershed law.

But that’s not all.

Rose Red and Lavender’s Kim Sevilla is offering 10-percent off to first 10 gay couples who approach her for floral arrangements, and cupcake queen Allison Robicelli has promised 20-percent off on any wedding cupcakes for gay marriages that occur before October.

And she’s offered to cater Brooklyn’s first gay wedding with free wedding cupcakes — based on flavors inspired by the beloved members of the Golden Girls.

“I thought it was really important to be vocal about gay marriage because my aunt, who passed away 10 years ago was a lesbian,” said Robicelli. “I want my kids to grow up where there’s nothing shameful about my aunt and her new wife. And there’s nothing shameful about being gay.”

Giovanni Miranda (left) and Todd Fernandez — seen here celebrating last Friday night’s the passage of gay marriage — hope to marry soon, which could mean big money for borough businesses.
Photo by Tom Callan

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