ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA) - This Election Day, Maryland became one of the first three states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote. The first weddings will take place this January with the help of a growing same-sex wedding industry. While these kinds of weddings may be new to Maryland, Kathryn Hamm has been an expert in the field for the last thirteen years.
"My website is GayWeddings .com. We are a comprehensive planning resource for same-sex couples," said Hamm, the president of GayWeddings.com. "My straight mom, I am proud to say, founded our company back in 1999, so long before there was any talk of gay marriage in the headlines. People thought she was a little crazy because no one thought this was something that could happen or would happen."
But this Election Day, it did happen. Same-sex marriage was approved by popular vote in Maryland, Maine, and Washington State.
"The entire thing exceeded my expectations," said Hamm. "I still feel like I am in a little bit of shock. You can't underestimate the significance of this feeling that we can now go tie the knot and it's legally recognized. This is really big."
It's also, potentially, big business for the City of Baltimore. In fact, the city's tourism bureau has already launched its own website for same-sex couples who want to get married in Baltimore.
The legalization could also be very lucrative for the vendors that cater to same-sex weddings. There are already 52,000 of them listed on Kathryn's website, 4,000 in our area alone. So when it comes to choosing just one, Hamm's advice is: "Trust your gut. If they keep calling you the bride and groom, you might not want to book it. And that's on the vendor to understand what same sex couples need."
The grand irony is that Hamm still can't get married. She lives in Virginia.
"I can't even describe the feeling of elation, and then there is the sobering moment when I remember that I live in a state that doesn't honor my 20 year relationship with my partner and that is a little bittersweet for me sometimes," said Hamm.