OLD MESILLA, New Mexico -- New Mexico hopes to see a spike in tourism after the state Supreme Court cleared the way for same sex couples to get married earlier this month.
“We’ve had about five different wedding events here with same sex marriage, male and female both,” said Kathleen Foreman owner of Josefina’s Old Gate Café and Inn.
Foreman and her husband Bob Hamilton, an antique dealer, turned a historic adobe home in Old Mesilla into a space for hosting events including weddings in October.
“We call it “La Sala: because we feel like it’s a living room and if’s living comfortable and entertaining comfortably,” said Foreman.
Convenience may also boost tourism as same sex couples cross the state line from Texas and other neighboring states to get married.
“There was one from Houston, some people from El Paso, and the other one (couple) from Austin,” said Foreman of the recent wedding gatherings at the Inn.
“New Mexico will definitely be a big destination,” said Michael McFall, publisher of The Pride Guides of Arizona, California, Hawaii & New Mexico.
McFall is organizing the “Pride Guides New Mexico Wedding and Honeymoon Expo” on May 4Th in Albuquerque.
McFall says New Mexico will rival other gay wedding destinations like Hawaii and California because it’s “very cost effective.”
Tourism is already a leading source of income in the state which touts itself as “The Land of Enchantment.”
Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins said since he began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples on Aug. 21, 450 gay couples have been married.
The state Supreme Court ruled in December those marriages are legal.
“Texas won’t even recognize those marriages but people come here and can get the federal benefit,” said Ellis.
Casa de Rosie’s Bed and Breakfast is among the businesses in Mesilla hoping to benefit from extra tourism from neighboring states like Texas.
“Definitely it’s a new segment that’s opened up,” said Rosie Martinez, owner of the bed and breakfast.
“Weddings are certainly high on the agenda,” said Martinez standing in her brightly tiled kitchen with her dog, Jasmine, a Belgian Malinois. “I definitely welcome everyone here and they feel that.”