The Board of Directors of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday voted unanimously to issue a statement recognizing the “positive impact seen by the hospitality and wedding industries” in states, including neighboring New England states, with marriage equality.
“Marriage equality could have a substantial positive economic impact on our members, especially in the hospitality and wedding industries,” said Laura F. Pedrick, chair of the Newport County Chamber Board of Directors. “Currently, Rhode Island is at a competitive disadvantage with our New England neighbors who already have marriage equality.”
Rhode Island is the only state in New England that has not signed same-sex marriage into law. On Jan. 24 the RI House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to approve legislation that would allow for same-sex marriage in the state on a 51-19 vote. The bill now awaits action from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Research has shown this demographic is affluent, stays longer and spends more when traveling or having a wedding,” said Newport County Chamber of Commerce President Jody Sullivan. “Additionally, we have wedding industry Chamber Members that lose weddings to bordering states that allow same sex marriage.”
The Chamber’s over 1,100 member companies and organizations make it the second largest chamber in Rhode Island. Chamber Members employ over 50,000 people throughout Newport County and greater Rhode Island.