CHICAGO — To celebrate marriage equality in Illinois, the Chicago Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is giving away $10,000 for a local couple's big gay wedding.
The prize will be given to whomever submits a video that best explains what marriage equality means to them and why the funds should go toward that couple's wedding. The contest winner will be announced Sunday at Finally Forever: A Wedding Expo, at 3179 N. Clark St.
The "first-of its-kind" expo will help LGBT couples find businesses "that can make their big day a complete success," the chamber said on its website.
"We have waited, and fought and prayed for this day for so long. We can't wait to celebrate with the LGBT community and the businesses who are out there making a difference for equality of all forms," said Christina Pinson, president and CEO of the chamber.
Since Illinois legalized gay marriage, many wedding industry businesses have embraced LGBT couples. The chamber hopes the expo will highlight those who have stood by the community all along, and warned those planning a wedding to be cautious of becoming "targets for those looking to make a quick buck," said Marie Hale Ramos, assistant director of the chamber.
"That's not OK with us. We want to stand up for those that have been standing with us for so long, which is why this contest and expo are so important," Ramos said. "The folks we are working with are not just wedding folks or service providers. They have been waving the flag for years. It's time to leverage the power of [our] dollars and let the community win."