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Originally published Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM


California's top spots for gay travelers

San Francisco, West Hollywood, Palm Springs and San Diego are among the top four favored California destinations for gay and lesbian travelers...


West Hollywood Marketing and Visitors Bureau: or 800-368-6020

Palm Springs Bureau

of Tourism:

or 800-347-7746

San Diego Convention &

Visitors Bureau:

or 619-236-1212

San Francisco Convention &

Visitors Bureau:

or 415-391-2000

San Francisco, West Hollywood, Palm Springs and San Diego are among the top four favored California destinations for gay and lesbian travelers, according to a recent Travel Industry Association survey.

And with last week's launch of same-sex marriages, the four are trumpeting (in some cases loudly) just how favored they are and how much they have to offer in terms of wedding rites, honeymoons and travel opportunities for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

In Los Angeles, West Hollywood's marketing and visitors bureau says that community has the state's largest gay and lesbian population and the largest Gay Pride festival on the West Coast, and includes LA's most popular gay nightclubs and businesses — all great reasons, it says, to spend some honeymoon time there.

To the east, Palm Springs, with its abundance of gay-and-lesbian hotels and resorts, is one of the top gay and lesbian vacation destinations in the U.S. and is offering itself as the ultimate honeymoon destination. The city's tourism Web site calls Palm Springs "America's Gay Oasis."

San Diego most likely is the sleeper here, although its official tourism Web site offers "San Diego from Gay to Z," including a contest to win a trip there to get married.

And then there's San Francisco.

At the city's tourism Web site, there's a letter from San Francisco Visitors and Convention Bureau president Joe D'Alessandro, who says, "There has never been a prouder moment for gender equality. Personally, being able to say 'I do' to my life partner is something I only dreamed about before and it will finally come true in 2008. I welcome all couples who share that dream to join us in San Francisco this year!"

Included in San Francisco's site are links to how to get marriage licenses.

No doubt each of these destinations, and several others in the state, has an eye toward a new study from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, which predicts that same-sex marriages "will bring nearly $700 million to the California wedding industry and pump almost $65 million in new revenue into the state budgets over the next three years."

Among their other predictions: About half of California's 103,000 same-sex couples will marry in the next three years, and nearly 70,000 same-sex couples from others states will do the same thing.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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