Big bucks coming from same sex marriage business in Rhode Island

by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

Jewelry is a staple of the wedding industry, and with Rhode Island now adding same sex couples to the mix, business owners call it a golden opportunity.

“They'll have their ceremony here; they'll buy their rings here. So we have had more young couples and older, couples of all ages, same sex, coming in and getting the rings and finally make it official,” said Ray Grenon of Grenon's Jewelry in Newport.

Newport has always been a popular tourist and wedding destination.

We checked with flower shops, caterers, hotels and restaurants.

All tell us they're cashing in on new business from same sex couples.

Andrea McHugh of Discover Newport said, “The wedding specialists and the sales managers at hotels are reporting that there are lots of phones calls that are coming in. There are different places that you can get married here, whether it's an interdenominational church, or if you want to do a ceremony on the beach you can do that as well.”

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, “Tourism officials tell us that Newport's already one of the top five destinations for gay and lesbian couples. They now hope that legal same sex marriage will simply add to that business.

In fact the prospects for more business are so promising there is a website: Newport, which targets that gay community here.

It has a whole section devoted to every wedding need.

“Yeah absolutely, we're having more web hits and I am getting more emails, specifically about venues in Newport,” said Lionel Pires of

On Sunday Newport will have a marriage expo with every type of vendor pitching wedding business, both gay and straight.