Miami's never been closer to having same-sex marriages legalized. Over the course of a few weeks, three Florida judges, including Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel, have struck down the ban on gay marriage. Judge Zabel stated that the ban "offends basic human dignity" and violates the promise the 14th Amendment gives of equal protection under the law.
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With legalized same-sex marriage making strides, some couples have probably already started planning their dream weddings. And we predict that most Miami wedding venues will be just as happy to host legal gay weddings as they are to host more state-unsanctioned declarations of eternal love between same-sex couples. But some have more cred with the LGBT community than others.
But if you're in the dark as to where to start on your wedding planning journey, here are five gay and lesbian-friendly suggestions.
Photo by The Carlyle Hotel
This location has a ton of history as an Art Deco marvel, but it's more famous from the 1996 comedy The Birdcage. The Carlyle was used as the titular drag club owned by Robin Williams' Armand Goldman and his partner (and star of The Birdcage's drag revue) Albert, played by Nathan Lane.
The Birdcage is one of the many films that the hotel has been featured in. Bad Boys 2, Random Hearts and the classic gangster film Scarface have also been filmed on the premises.
But apart from its film history, The Carlyle is a part of Miami Beach's living art history. The hotel was built in 1939 by legendary architecture firm Kiehnel and Elliot, and is part of Miami Beach's collection of vintage Art Deco locations, the biggest collection of Art Deco resort architecture in America.
Miami Beach has a ton of gay-friendly hotels, but surprisingly, there hasn't been a straight-up (no pun intened) gay hotel, until now. Hôtel Gaythering is Miami Beach's only gay hotel, proudly stating that it's "hetero friendly."
The hotel, owned by Alexander Guerra and Stephan Ginez, stands apart for not indulging in the pastel, breezy aesthetic Miami Beach is known for. Instead, it has a stark, masculine design featuring the color red as a focal point. The hotel also features a bar, coffee shop, self spa and library. The small, intimate library allows for 20 to 40 people and has been the meeting spot for group discussions, small parties and perhaps, a quiet wedding.
The Riviera Hotel was the host hotel for the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 2014, the first major LGBT film festival to occur each year, laying the groundwork for the entire LGBT film festival season. If you or your loved one is a cinephile, this hotel might be just up your alley.
The hotel combines 1940s history with today's sophistication and perks, such as grocery delivery, connections to Roam Rides transportation rentals, and Moreno's Cuba, the hotel's restaurant owned by Latin Grammy Award winning singer Jorge Moreno and South Beach Group hotelier Nathan Lieberman. The restaurant is possibly one of the hotel's hidden gems, having been voted one of the top five Cuban restaurants in Miami by Haute Living magazine.
The Biltmore Hotel has history and charm for days, but it's also an LGBT ally. Last year, the hotel launched a "Love is Love" advertising campaign, hoping to attract same-sex couples who are looking for a quality wedding destination.
This campaign is just one of the ways in which the Biltmore keeps molding itself to the times. The hotel, developed in 1924 by land developer Goerge Merrick and Biltmore hotelier John McEntee Bowman and opening in 1926, was the hotel of choice for rich northerners looking for tropical sun. Through its lifetime, the hotel hosted stars like Ginger Rogers and Judy Garland, royalty like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and gangsters like Al Capone. The hotel eventually became a hospital during World War II and was also used as the University of Miami's School of Medicine. It later became a Veteran's Administration hospital until 1968.
The opulence alone makes Vizcaya Museum and Gardens a fantastic wedding destination, but the building also has its own piece of LGBT history. James Deering was said to be a bachelor, but if you do a quick search on the internet, it's an open secret that Deering was more than likely in a relationship with his architect and artist, Paul Chalfin. In fact, for the Leslie-Lohman Musem of Gay and Lesbian Art's exhibition "Paul Thek And His Circle In The 1950s," co-curator Peter Harvey stated that Thek, a gay artist, and his circle of artist friends including Peter Hujar, Joe Raffael and Peter Harvey, "knew James Deering, who built Villa Vizcaya, was queer and that the estate was therefore historically gay ground."
There is a homoerotic theme throughout the grounds, including Adonis-esque renderings of some of the African-American male workers-turned-art models and a statue of Ganymede, the young male Zeus took as the cupbearer of the gods and as his lover.
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