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Louisville Tourism Officials Ramp Up LGBT Outreach Following Supreme Court Ruling

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Following last month's landmark Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriage in Kentucky, Louisville’s tourism agency has ramped-up its outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Tourism officials have been working to attract more LGBT tourism to the city for a couple of months now. When they started, though, the state’s ban on gay marriage was a barrier.  But things are different now.

Christa Ritchie, a spokeswoman for the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, said her agency had been planning in advance of the same-sex marriage ruling for a way to reach out to LGBT couples looking to get married as soon as the law changed.

“You know, we were so excited,” she said. We were like, ‘We are ready to come up with a campaign that welcomes LGBT travelers here--welcomes them to have weddings here.”

Chris Hartman, director of the Louisville Fairness Campaign, said a couple months ago that Kentucky’s ban on gay marriage presented a big reason LGBT people might decide not to visit Louisville. Hartman is part of a taskforce created by LCVB tasked with coming up with ideas aimed at attracting the gay community.

“Kentucky has a lot to overcome in terms of LGBT rights and making the state attractive to LGBT folks,” Hartman explained back in March.

“Even though Louisville has a fairness ordinance, the majority of the state of Kentucky does not have anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Ritchie said now that the gay marriage ban is gone, this work is a little easier.

“This does break down that barrier,” she said. “And it just shows that we are welcoming and inclusive and we think that we will make travelers definitely want to come here even more.”

LCVB announced the “Say I Do In Lou” campaign this week, which includes a contest for an all-expenses-paid-wedding and weekend getaway.

The contest opened this week and is open to all couples.

Watch the campaign’s video below, which includes the tagline: “Louisville, where the bourbon is straight, but the weddings don’t have to be.”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljBZZTQhqYQ]