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Here Are Amazing Wedding Venues In The 13 States Where Same-Sex Marriage Just Became Legal

July 9, 2015 at 9:05 AM | by | ()

We assume you all know by now, but love has been deemed the winner, and same-sex weddings are now being recognized (and commencing) in all 50 states!

In honor of this joyfully historic time for the U. S. of A., we wanted to give a fabulous, in-depth wedding guide for our gay readers. But then we realized we weren’t Modern Bride Magazine — so we said "screw that," and just found a favorite place for a wedding in each of the 13 states that, until the Supreme Court's historic recent ruling, didn't yet offer same-sex marriage rights.

Join us on this cross-country virtual road trip of matrimony, will you?

NOTE: We apologize for any heterosexual imagery you may see below. Unsurprisingly, none of these venues had same-sex wedding photos to choose from — yet. And on that note, please be advised these venues were determined based on aesthetic awesomeness; we recommend doing additional research on a venue's gay-friendly reputation. Sadly, just because it's legal doesn't mean people will be, you know, nice human beings.

ARKANSAS

Venue: Anthony Chapel Complex

Why It’s Fab: Surrounded by beautiful woodwork and towering floor-to-ceiling glass windows that show off the surrounding woodlands, this is easily one of the most stunning places to tie the knot – not just in Arkansas, but anywhere. It only seats 160 guests, but the fees are fairly reasonable and at six stories tall it’s hard to look inside and not feel overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of nature – and of love. [Image at page top via Flickr]

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#LoveWins! Celebrate Today's Supreme Court Ruling With Some Top Gay Travel Stories

June 26, 2015 at 1:33 PM | by | ()

ICYMI (because you don't have TV, or an Internet connection, or social media on your smartphone): This morning the Supreme Court ruled (5-4) in favor of same-sex marriage. Yes, it's now the law of the land in all 50 states, and gay people everywhere can enjoy this wonderful, tax-saving institution! Oh, and you know, celebrate being able to love who they love. #LoveWins.

In honor of this happy and historic day, we’re highlighting some of our top Gay Travel stories — since, you know, you might want to plan a vacation to celebrate. (Or elope?) Read through them, enjoy them, share them, and with every exhale feel the elation of equal love!

TropOut, a New Gay Travel Experience, Launches With This Trip To Thailand

Over 1,000 gay people all coming together in paradise?! Count us in! TropOut is a “sophisticated” option for the gay community that just announced its inaugural week-long travel experience in Bang Tao Beach, Thailand in April 2016.

Are These The 5 Best Cities To Celebrate Pride?

Pride festivities are already underway in many cities, but AFAR Magazine picked out its “5 Best Cities to Celebrate Pride in America.” With options ranging from Boston to San Francisco, you know you’re getting some quality gay travel time if you’re in any of these destinations.

Check Out This ‘Kingdom’ Where Only Gay People Are Allowed

The story behind this sovereign state is pretty crazy. We’re not sure we love the idea of self-imposed segregation – but if you’re gay, you’re able to travel to this island with no indigenous inhabitants. Or you could live there, too. (Be sure to tell Emperor Dale hello for us!)

Beyond The Beach: Fort Lauderdale For LGBT Travelers

Back in 2013, we detailed Fort Lauderdale and what makes it a great destination for LGBT travelers. It was a cold season when we wrote it – not beach season – so we took the liberty of profiling some of the best off-the-beachen-path options for gay travelers.

Finally! Airline Publishes First Flight Attendant Calendar of Hot MEN

All we need to say is in the headline, really.

Travel Trepidation: What LGBT Travelers Should Know Before Heading To Russia

While the news about Russia’s anti-LGBT culture is a couple years old now, many gay travelers still have qualms about heading there for a vacation. We outlined a few of our tips for traveling to Russia in 2013. If you're a gay traveler who has visited since, tell us about your experience — did you feel safe? — in the comments.

Now excuse us while we go paint the sidewalks rainbow and continue celebrating today’s milestone! [Image via Flickr]

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Are These the 5 Best Cities to Celebrate Pride?

June 17, 2015 at 4:49 PM | by | ()

Unfurl that rainbow flag, put your parade shoes on (hint: six-inch platforms) and let the glitter rain down. It's June — LGBT Pride Month — and cities large and small across the country will be hosting thousands-drawing celebrations. The modern gay rights movement hasn't always been marked with festiveness (it did start with a thunderous riot, after all), but cultural and political advancements have paved the way for major events that now draw LGBT and ally attendees alike. Pride celebrations are also big tourist attractions, often luring LGBT people from small towns and less progressive states where being out — never mind being proud — doesn't feel like an option.

Wondering which Pride celebration to visit? The fine folks at AFAR magazine have outlined their picks for the "5 Best Cities to Celebrate Pride in America." The coast-to-coast picks range from Boston (where the progressive political and academic climate fostered Massachusetts' first-in-the-nation same-sex marriage rights) to San Francisco. (Where — do we really have to explain?) Overall, it's not a surprising list; they're all large cities with significant gay populations and well-established histories. But AFAR also offers handy guides to gay-friendly accommodations, trendy boutiques, and "boozy brunch spots" in each city— so if you haven't already booked your Pride plans, give it a read (here) and get to stepping like the grand marshal you are. (We've seen those hips sashay. WERQ.)

[Photo via Flickr]

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TropOut, a New Gay Travel Experience, Launches With This Trip To Thailand

May 26, 2015 at 2:00 PM | by | ()

Around the world, equal rights for gays and lesbians continue to be won every day. (In fact, over the weekend Ireland became the latest country to legalize same-sex marriage — and the first to do so by popular vote.) But LGBT travelers must still make special considerations when traveling internationally. Even if they’re not visiting one of those countries where homosexuality is still punishable by, you know, prison or death, gay tourists are often acutely aware of the potential for discrimination on vacation. No one deserves to have the sweet kiss of a romantic sunset selfie interrupted by jeering passerby — or worse.

So welcome the latest travel series that aims to ensure fun and inclusive outings for the gay community: TropOut, a “sophisticated” entry that just announced its inaugural week-long travel experience in Bang Tao Beach, Thailand in April 2016. Over 1,000 participants are expected to join the outing (pun intended) in southern Phuket, staying at the five-star Angsana Laguna Phuket while enjoying an itinerary that includes DJ parties at nearby Nikki Beach, walking tours and cave explorations, bay cruises, cooking classes and muscle-melting spa treatments. Head here to check out the packages and special add-ons, which start at $1,295 per person for six nights (April 3-9).

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Check Out This 'Kingdom' Where Only Gay People are Allowed

Where: Australia
April 29, 2015 at 1:08 PM | by | ()

With legality of gay marriage before the Supreme Court today, contributor TipsyTraveler takes a look at an island near Australia for gay people, and created by gay people in protest of Australia's refusal at the turn of this millennium to recognize same-sex marriage.

As a member of the cisgender homosexual male species, I can get down with some LGBTQ cultural enrichment. Actually it’s a huge part of my existence. I live the lifestyle. I’ve done extensive volunteering and full-time work in the LGBTQ nonprofit sector. I educate myself daily on the current sociopolitical matters affecting LGBTQ people all over the world. It matters greatly to me.

So imagine my WTFreakout when I learn there is a place on planet earth – a bundle of islands scattered over some 500,000 kilometer slice of the sea – where only people like me, the mo’s of the world, are allowed to go. And live. Forever. Just a giant gay community on big chunks of sand strewn amongst the ocean.

This is the Gay & Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands.

And I kind of hate it.

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Gay Marriage is Now Legal in Hawaii, Which Means...

November 14, 2013 at 5:32 PM | by | ()

On the surface, the news that gay marriage became officially legal yesterday in Hawaii is equally as great for the Aloha State and its residents as it has been for the 14 other states where it is permitted.

That said, unlike Hawaii, none of them will ever make hundreds of millions of dollars off of it.

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These 3 Destination Ads are the Only Ones Aimed at LGBT Travelers

September 12, 2013 at 12:37 PM | by | ()

"Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay." It's a cute slogan, and believe it or not it comes from the tourism board of Philadelphia, PA.

The words are backed up by a new commercial following the "selfie" antics around the city by drag queen Miss Richfield 1981, all with the aim of driving Gay Travel to Philly. So what's the big deal? Well, this is actually only the third commercial by a US destination focused on the LGBT audience, and yet here we are in 2013.

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Everyone Loves a Flashy Parade...Especially Australia

February 14, 2012 at 4:04 PM | by | ()

Around this time of year, most talk of Mardi Gras parties primarily in The Big Easy. If you are lucky enough to travel a bit further south and take part in Carnival celebrations in Brazil, we will happily admit our envy. Either way, you're pretty much assured to have experiences of a lifetime...plus brags all over Facebook.

On the other hand. Let's just say you have some frequent flyer miles to burn and desire to celebrate Mardi Gras in an English-speaking country. Australia is the answer to your travel conundrum. More specifically, Sydney. The city plays host to a full month-long schedule of events culminating in a colorful parade and high energy dance parties.

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Tel Aviv Voted World's Top Gay Travel Destination

February 1, 2012 at 1:39 PM | by | ()

Israel tourism has been in an upward spiral over the last few years. Every year brings a new crop of travelers to the Jewish State—reflected in now-routine "this was the best tourism year ever" headlines—and they go home and tell their friends. That's how you end up with niche surveys about the popularity of Israel travel, like Israel being the number two destination for Russians.

Obviously part of Israel's tourism revolves around the country being a destination for religion travel. Jerusalem is and will remain by far Israel's most-visited destination (see our insidery tips for making the most of a Jerusalem visit here and here). But other parts of Israel are becoming famous for appealing to other demographics.

Forest-filled Haifa recently got the nod of being Israel's cleanest tourism city, part of a campaign to bolster green travel to and around Israel (El Al passengers flying from LHR to TLV can even purchase carbon off-sets).

And then there's Tel Aviv, which has just been voted the world's single best gay travel destination.

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