Las Vegas is known as the Wedding Capital of the World thanks to its cheap wedding costs, ease of acquiring a marriage license, and world-class entertainment. Fortunately, the free-spirited wedding destination ended the legal fight for gay marriage and has been handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples for over four years. To fully understand how this came about, here’s a quick look at the recent history of same-sex marriage in the United States.
History of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States
In 1970, the first same-sex couple applied for a marriage license in Minnesota. Unfortunately, their case was denied and sent to the state Supreme Court. Three years later, Maryland became the first state to ban same-sex marriage. In 1987, the first mass same-sex wedding ceremony took place on the National Mall.
Same-sex employees began to receive domestic partner benefits from Levi Strauss & Co. and the state of Massachusetts in 1992. Five years later, Hawaii became the first state to offer domestic partnership benefits to same sex couples.
After a years of strides, Nevada votes to approve a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2002. Fortunately, President Obama declared The Defense of Marriage Act DOMA unconstitutional several years later, and New York finally decided legalized same-sex marriage. Shortly after, the Ninth Circuit found Prop 8, which eliminated rights of same-sex couples to marry, unconstitutional. Washington state, Maine, and Maryland legalized same-sex marriage by popular vote.
In 2013, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, and New Mexico followed suit. Then, the IRS decided to legally recognize same-sex married couples.
A year later, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and South Carolina legalized same-sex marriage. Finally, the United States Supreme Court made same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states in Obergefell v. Hodges.
The History of Same-Sex Marriage in Las Vegas
Even when Nevada banned same-sex marriage in 2002, Las Vegas still courted the LGBT market with gay-friendly venues and same-sex commitment ceremonies in lieu of licensed weddings. Fortunately, same-sex marriage was legally recognized in Nevada on October 9, 2014, when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declared that its ruling allowing same-sex marriage in Nevada was “in full force and effect,” allowing couples across the state to wed whomever they choose.
State Senator Kelvin Atkinson and his partner of six-and-a-half years were the first couple to marry in Las Vegas.
How to get a Marriage License for Your Same-Sex Wedding
A Marriage License is one thing you must have before you can get married in Vegas. Luckily, this happens to be easy to obtain in Las Vegas. To get a marriage license, you and your partner will need to provide valid identification that shows your full name and birth date. Acceptable forms include:
- Valid driver’s license
- State-issued ID
- Resident alien card
- Military ID
Fortunately, there is no waiting period or blood test to get married in Nevada.
Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding in Las Vegas
Wedding planning can be overwhelming for all couples! To help you get started, here are some ways to make it a bit less stressful.
Tour an LGBTQ+-friendly wedding venue.
There’s no shortage of LGBTQ+-friendly locations and wedding venues in Las Vegas. Since gay marriage was legalized in Nevada, most wedding chapels in Vegas have created LGBTQ+-friendly packages. With so many locations available for holding a same-sex wedding in Las Vegas, narrow them down by touring your favorite ones. The Little Vegas Chapel offers all-inclusive traditional wedding packages perfect for your Vegas wedding! Celebrate your love in our LGBTQ+-friendly wedding chapel.
Choose a date carefully.
Las Vegas is home to a plethora of conventions and special events. This could cause room rates to skyrocket, adding extra expense to your Vegas wedding. You may also experience the added stress of finding available reservations for your post-wedding reception. With that said, do your research so your wedding day doesn’t correspond with the same weekend as a tech convention or big concert.
Obtain your marriage license.
As we mentioned above, the most crucial step in planning your same-sex wedding is making it legal by obtaining a marriage license. The Las Vegas Marriage License Bureau is located in the Regional Justice Center in Downtown Las Vegas. The Marriage License Bureau is open daily from 8 a.m. to midnight, including weekends and holidays.
It’s important to note that many Las Vegas wedding chapels also offer pretend weddings, which are also called commitment ceremony or fake weddings. Pretend ceremonies are performed with many similarities to an actual Vegas wedding but without the legal complexities or legalities. A commitment ceremony can be a good alternative if you and your partner wish to have a ceremony for symbolic purposes only.
How to Celebrate Your Same-Sex Wedding in Las Vegas
Celebrate your “I Do’s!” with the best wedding chapel in Las Vegas! The Little Vegas Chapel prides itself on being a 5-Star rated wedding venue. The Little Vegas Chapel has packages to cater to everyone’s needs. The most popular package The Little Vega Chapel offers is the Love & Cherish package, which includes a full chapel ceremony, professional photography, fresh rose bouquets and boutonnieres, and an officiated marriage license. For more information on our ceremony packages, or to book, contact one of our friendly wedding coordinators today!
Visit the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign.”
If you love the lights and ambiance of Las Vegas, you can’t miss out on visiting the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign.” The world-famous sign, located directly on the Las Vegas Strip, has become one of the most popular places to visit in Las Vegas. Not only is it a cheap wedding activity, but it’s a favorite among the couples we work with.
Show off Your LGBTQ+ Pride
Las Vegas is booming with LGBTQ+ pride events. If you’re wanting to show off your Pride, visit the Annual PRIDE Night Parade. The gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community of Southern Nevada, along with allies, come together to support and promote activities that further human rights.
Grab Insta-worthy food and drinks
After tying the knot on the Strip, your stomach is sure to be rumbling. Head to Mandalay Bay’s House of Blues, Cabo Wabo Cantina, or the Excalibur’s Tournament of Kings, just to name a few on the famous Las Vegas Strip. If you would like to stay around the Downtown Art’s District area, consider paying a visit to any of our Downtown partners, such as 18bin, Letty’s, Atomic Tavern and Kitchen or Horestrailer Hideout!
Our Commitment to Gay Weddings
We have always focused on making sure our couples feel comfortable and welcome to Las Vegas. In fact, The Little Vegas Chapel has been performing LGBTQ+ commitment ceremonies since opening their doors, well before they were recognized as legally binding in Nevada.
We understand how monumental a couple’s wedding day can be, and we are honored to be part of it. The LGBTQ community and The Little Vegas Chapel work hand-in-hand to provide a welcoming environment for all of our guests. If you want to plan the perfect LGBTQ+ wedding in Vegas, The Little Vegas Chapel offers several cheap wedding packages and destinations to ensure your special day will be one of the best days of your life!