Gay Cyprus Weddings Just Say I-Do!
Danny Waine, Marketing Director of travel company Perfect Gay Honeymoons, UK.
Im writing in response to the announcement from the Cyprus Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Lazaros Savvides, as reported in the Cyprus Sunday Mail last weekend, that the Cypriot Government is going to examine the issue of making same-sex marriage legal in Cyprus.
Gay Weddings Abroad
Perfect Gay Honeymoons has been organising Civil Partnerships abroad for British couples across the world since the Civil Partnership Act became law in December 2005. The company supports the move from the Cyprus Interior Ministry to explore legalising gay marriage on the Island. Marketing Director Danny Waine said From a tourism point of view this could be the most positive regulatory change that the island could make this century. The most important thing is that this proposed change has come about because of a letter written by a Cypriot Citizen, not a government being forced in to it just to generate cash.
Currently gay and lesbian couples from the UK can tie the knot in Canada, New Zealand, certain states in the US and South Africa and have their wedding legally recognised here in the UK. However due to regulations across Europe (where at least one of the partners must be a citizen of the country they are marrying in) it makes it impossible for British gay or lesbian couples to marry in Europe. The only way around it is for the couple to register their Civil Partnership here in the UK and then host a non-legal commitment ceremony overseas.
Waine explained, We have been organising commitment ceremonies in Cyprus since the Civil Partnership Act came in to force, and are receiving increasing enquiries from gay and lesbian couples wanting to marry legally on the island. Theyve often been to friends weddings in Cyprus or heard about someone thats married on the island and thats what they want too. Gay and lesbian couples dont want to marry in stereotypical gay haunts like Ibiza, Mykonos and Sitges; they dream about marrying in typical wedding destinations such as Cyprus, Mauritius and the Caribbean.
Cyprus Economic Opportunity
Cyprus could cash in on the gay wedding market from the UK, Waine said Not only would the marriage law be a step in the right direction for equality of gay and lesbian Cypriots, it also could open up a massive market from the UK. Providing the residency requirements for gay weddings remain the same as straight couples, Cyprus would become the only country in Europe where gay and lesbian British couples overseas could legally get married.
I strongly urge the ministers and diplomats meeting with Dr Lazaros Savvides to support the change in the law; as well as for the Cyprus Tourism Organisation and hoteliers in Cyprus to get behind the movement. We have written to the Cypriot Government and Cyprus Tourism Organisation to offer our support to the proposed change; and we believe that hoteliers across the island would view this amendment favourably. Economically the island of Cyprus only stands to benefit, as it will lead to an inevitable increase in weddings taking place on the island, and generating more group business throughout the year.
Although it would send out a signal that Cyprus is a gay-friendly destination and welcoming to gay and lesbian couples. More importantly it will attract more couples and families to the island Waine explained that from our research weve found that from gay wedding groups that we have marry overseas, less than a quarter of the party are usually gay or bisexual. There seems to be a misconception that gay wedding parties are going to bring 30 Kylie-singing, pink wearing drag queens! This couldnt be further from the truth, you must remember that each of the gay partners have parents that arent gay, brothers and sisters that arent gay, and friends that arent gay.
Messages of Support from Across the UK and Cyprus
Perfect Gay Honeymoons has received support from gay businesses across the UK and Cyprus. This is wonderful news, said Sue Briggs-Harris, editor of Tickled Pink, Britains first, paid-for gay wedding magazine. A lot of straight couples choose to get married abroad these days to avoid all the stress usually associated with a wedding. Gay people are no different. No matter what the Daily Mail would have us believe.
Nicola Hill, the owner of online gay wedding directory Gay Friendly Wedding Venues added It would be great if Cyprus legalised gay marriage. The weddings abroad section of our website gets a lot of hits. Many British gay and lesbian couples want the option of marrying abroad, especially in a warm climate, so Cyprus would be ideal.
Dr Kai Wacker, of GayCyprus.org, the gay tourism information resource, based in Limassol said The legalisation of gay (same sex marriages) in Cyprus would be something not only the Gay Community of the Republic of Cyprus, but also Cyprus Tourism, the Cyprus Hotel and Catering Industries and many more businesses here in the Republic of Cyprus could profit from enormously. We as a company as well as openly gay individuals and couple would strongly support the legalisation of Gay or Same-Sex marriages in the Republic Of Cyprus.
Whilst the owner of one of the islands most famous gay-bars, Different Bar in Paphos, Panos Charalambous said this is very nice news! as it could have a big effect on the growing gay-scene on the island. Its widely acknowledged that gay couples often have double-incomes, many dont have children and they tend to spend more money in the local community when on holiday, eating in local tavernas and restaurants; which is of great benefit to the local economy.
Cyprus The Island of Love for all
Waine finished, Over half of the enquiries we receive for gay weddings abroad are for Cyprus, and these are coming in on a daily basis, so there is certainly the demand there. We have so many gay honeymoon couples travel to Cyprus each year and they always rave about the island, the warmth of its people and standard of hotels. This is an ideal opportunity for Cyprus to bring about change for good, and to offset some of the losses its endured during the recession. Ultimately it is the island of love, it has fantastic 5* luxury accommodations, spa and wedding facilities, and this should be open to any couple in love.