Palm Springs launches wedding destination website hours after Prop. 8 ruling

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling today that cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California, the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism unveiled a website touting the area as a wedding destination.

The website, www.weddingsinpalmsprings.com, includes information about hotels and inns, vacation home rentals, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender resorts and wedding locations, according to tourism bureau spokeswoman Hillary Angel. Some of the photos on the site are of same-sex couples.

From August to November 2008, Palm Springs officials performed more than 600 civil same-sex ceremonies. Thirty-four same-sex couples were married in downtown Palm Springs that year in an event called ``Palm Springs Celebration of Marriage,'' organized by the city, Angel said.

Many of Palm Springs' gay and lesbian resorts offer packages and on-site ceremonies. The city has the most gay and lesbian resorts in the United States, with about 30 gay and lesbian-owned and/or operated resorts and guesthouses, Angel said.

In a 5-4 ruling, the nation's high court found that backers of Proposition 8 -- which was approved by California voters in 2008 and banned same-sex marriage -- lacked legal standing to challenge a lower court ruling that found the measure unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court today also struck down a key portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted in 1996 and defined marriage solely as a union between opposite-sex couples. The court ruled that the act was unconstitutional by denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

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