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U.K. companies
hope to cash in on gay weddings

U.K. companies
hope to cash in on gay weddings

Companies offering wedding services position themselves for the "pink pound boom"

With gay couples across the United Kingdom signing up in large numbers to be united under the nation's new Civil Partnership Act, companies offering traditional wedding services are expecting to cash in on the "pink pound boom," reports London's The Independent. The legalization of gay civil partnerships in the United Kingdom is expected to generate millions of pounds in revenue for businesses offering wedding ceremonies, receptions, wedding gifts, flowers, photography, and other traditional wedding-related services, business leaders say.

Pink Productions, an Internet-based company, was launched specifically to cater to the new same-sex wedding market, founder Ben Spence told The Independent. "The traffic has been simply phenomenal in the last few weeks, with about 3,000 hits a day," he says. "You have to remember that these are people with enormous spending power, and some have waited decades for a law like this. I know people who are planning to spend up to $100,000 on their wedding day because they want it to be special."

Large multinational companies also are rushing to cash in on the same-sex wedding market, estimated to be about $1 billion annually in the United Kingdom. Hilton Hotels is already advertising services to gay newlyweds, and Virgin Holidays is offering honeymoon packages to Florida and Hawaii. Even high-end health and beauty chain Superdrug, with about 700 U.K. stores, has begun offering "dearest and queerest" embroidered towel sets.

U.K. officials estimate that about 22,000 gay couples will be joined through the newly approved 20-minute civil partnership ceremony during the next five years. The unions give gay couples the same inheritance, pension, tax, and benefit rights as heterosexual married couples. Gay U.K. celebrities Elton John and George Michael have said they are planning to marry their respective partners in the next few months.

The Civil Partnership Act officially became law on Tuesday and gay couples could begin registering their names with local councils, but an obligatory 15-day waiting period means that the first gay civil partnership ceremonies won't be held in the United Kingdom until December 21. (

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