Rochester, N.Y.— This time last year, same-sex marriages in New York state became legal. According to Empire State Pride Agenda, more than 10,000 gay couples have gotten married in the state since then.
In the Rochester area, there is no real way of telling how many gay couples have gotten married. City and county clerk offices don’t keep track of the numbers.
“It's difficult to get exact numbers but we do know that definitely gay marriages are happening,” says Scott Fearing, of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley.
Fearing says, anedoctically, he knows several gay couples are choosing to tie the knot.
“Running our database here, we see more couples who are saying ‘You have to change my last name or you have to set us up as a household now because we're legally married,” says Fearing. “Also what I hear from the restaurant and hospitality industry, yes, it definitely is.”
Fearing says local wedding vendors have said they’ve seen some increase in business because of same-sex weddings.
Robert Zogby, of The Definitive Disc Jockey, says he started advertising in the The Empty Closet, the local LGBT community newspaper, as soon as the legislation passed last year.
“Business has increased,” says Zogby. “I won't say it's large amount, but it's enough to get some revenue.”
Zogby says he’s been asked to DJ at five same-sex weddings in the past year. He says that’s a substantial amount for his business which only books 35 to 40 events a year.
But not every wedding vendor is experiencing the same type of business.
Photographer Cheryl Amati Martin says she’s booked a few same-sex weddings but not enough to make a dent. Stacy K. Floral also says they’ve handling a small increase of orders because of same-sex weddings.
According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City has gotten nearly $260 million in economic benefits because of same-sex marriages.
Shortly after the legislation passed the state senate last year, the conservative group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom filed a lawsuit to overturn the vote. The group claimed that state senators violated open meeting rules before they passed gay marriage.
Earlier this month, the appeals court in Rochester dismissed the lawsuit.