Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Inclusive Vegas Ad an Inspiring Sign of the Times

A new, inclusive commercial for Las Vegas will pull at your heart, with its beautiful happy ending for a same-sex couple, but it’s also a symbol of what’s happening in Sin City these days.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that same-sex weddings are big business on the Strip. It counted up same-sex marriages by state, from October 2014 through May 2018, and found Nevada at the top of the list, even ahead of much larger neighbors such as Texas or New York. Nevada counted 4,017 marriages in that time period, compared to 2,277 for California, its closest competitor. 

Marriage equality has been legal in Vegas since October 9, 2014 when Clark County began issuing licenses to same-sex couples. The 1,000th marriage license was issued on Jan. 7, 2015, then the 5,000th on December 30, 2015. The 10,000th license came on January 20, 2017. 

Fletcher Whitwell, senior vice president for the company behind the ad, R&R Partners, was engaged in Las Vegas himself, and then married there in March 2016. He and his husband, Greg Flamer, who have been together 20 years, were among the original plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed to win marriage equality in Nevada. 

The story in the “Now & Then” advertisement (which is really more like a short film) isn’t based on true events, but “Las Vegas is and always has been about adult freedom, empowerment and inclusiveness,” said Whitwell. 

“Regardless of where you come from or why you chose Las Vegas,” he added, “you get to define what adult freedom means to you, which is shown in a more contemporary way in these stories.”

Whitwell said the ad shows “the cultural evolution of the last few years” that’s happening nationwide and in Vegas. “These stories speak to the diversity of our visitors, and emphasize the underlying message we have always delivered – that anyone can come to Las Vegas and define their own experience, their own Vegas moments, free from judgment.”

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