As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and the California Supreme Court's recent refusal to order the state to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Maui is set to benefit from increased tourism and commerce, said Bob Kincaid, president of Maui Pride Organization.
"Within the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community, it is widely expected that Maui will first become a honeymoon destination for newlywed same-sex couples," said Kincaid. "After the much-anticipated transition from civil unions to full marriage equality in Hawai'i, Maui is then expected to become a prime destination for same-sex ceremonies as well."
Kincaid added, "With these major rulings behind us, same-sex weddings will bring a tremendous amount of commerce to Maui from tourists, as well as the local LGBT community. Local businesses can only benefit from participating."
Maui Pride Announces Opportunities for Local Businesses, Nonprofits, Students
The main event of Maui Pride Organization is Pride Weekend, scheduled this year from Oct. 4 to 6.
Businesses and nonprofit organizations will have the opportunity to rent a booth at the daytime festival, which will be free and open to the public on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Maui Tropical Plantation.
"Having a booth at the Pride Festival will provide excellent visibility to participating entities and show commitment to the community, resulting in more commerce from a loyal community," said Kincaid.
Booths for businesses are available now for $50; qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations pay $25. Rental cost includes one table and two folding chairs, delivered to the assigned space. Make reservations online at mauipride.org.
Businesses and nonprofits can also place a listing the Maui Pride Business Directory for $10 per month or become an event sponsor. Information for both of these opportunities can be found at www.mauipride.org.
Maui Pride's main mission is to promote understanding of the LGBTQ (queer, questioning) community, while celebrating diversity for all people of Maui.
"Many think that Maui Pride Organization is only about organizing and putting on Pride Weekend," said Kincaid. "But the true meaning behind Maui Pride Organization is to encourage, celebrate and educate all people of the positive diversity of the LGBTQ community. It is very important that we are here to support our community and the organizations that share our same goals. This is why the organization also has the scholarship fund--to support and educate our community.
As part of the organization's new mission, Maui Pride seeks to provide stronger support to LGBT youth. To accomplish this, Maui Pride is offering several scholarships that will grant up to $5,000 for college-bound youth. The application deadline is Friday, Aug. 16. Applications are available at www.mauipride.org.
The Maui Pride Festival was once administered by Both Sides Now. The torch was passed to the Maui Pride Organization, which is now in charge of the refreshed festival.
Traditionally held in June in the major cities around the world, members of the new organization decided to move the timing of the festival to capitalize on a typically slower month for the Valley Isle.
"With the Mainland having all the pride festivals in June and with the Hawaiian Islands having them almost all on the same weekend, we wanted to be different," said Kincaid. "Why celebrate once, when you can celebrate again on Maui?"
The celebration will include a private VIP reception at the Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort on Friday, followed by a free, "all-ages" kick-off party at Moose McGillycuddy's in Kihei that night.
Saturday's festival will include a morning hike, entertainment on the community stage, vendor booths and Hawaiian cultural activities. Saturday evening will feature a private dinner with a special performance, evening entertainment and a dance party.
Sunday will conclude the weekend with a social breakfast at Stella Blues Cafe.
Event tickets are available in advance at www.mauipride.org.