Photo: Nick Hall Photography

Press Release

News Release
August 27, 2014

Media Contact:

David Blandford
(206) 461-5806,

Seattle Rolls Out the Rainbow Carpet for Zachary and Samuel

City’s First Openly Gay Mayor and Newlywed, Ed Murray, to Officiate Marriage Ceremony, City Hosts Wedding Travel Package and Buildings Display Rainbow Lights and Flags

SEATTLE – When Zac Baker and Sam Busch, of St. Paul, MN, got engaged last December, they didn’t expect their marriage ceremony to be hosted by a city they’d never visited, or that its openly gay mayor would officiate and its citizens would welcome them with rainbow lights, flags on buildings and decals in shop windows.

Zac and Sam will marry in Seattle one week from today on Wednesday, September 3, 2014. They are the first couple chosen in the Marry Me in Seattle Sweepstakes to receive a Seattle wedding trip hosted and coordinated by Visit Seattle. Some 50 friends and family of the grooms will fly to Seattle for the wedding ceremony.

As part of the sweepstakes package, the couple will receive air transportation from Alaska Airlines, a four-night stay at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, a wedding ceremony at Canlis restaurant, flowers, wedding photography, DJ, ground transportation from Uber Seattle, champagne courtesy of Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, beer from Hilliard’s Brewery & Taproom and dessert from Trophy Cupcakes.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray eagerly offered to officiate the wedding ceremony. Previously a state senator, he fought for Washington State’s marriage equality law, which was passed by voters in late 2012. He married his longtime partner, Michael, last year and became Seattle’s first openly gay mayor in January 2014. He obtained his license to officiate marriage ceremonies online.

The Marry Me in Seattle campaign and sweepstakes are intended to lure LGBTQ visitors to the city by showcasing its progressive and welcoming culture. Visit Seattle, the city’s nonprofit tourism marketing organization, asked hundreds of local businesses to display rainbow lights or hoist rainbow flags to welcome the visiting couple. Safeco Field (home to the Seattle Mariners) Seattle Great Wheel, Pacific Science Center and many other organizations pledge to do so.

“I can’t think of a better way to begin my life journey with my special guy,” said Sam Busch. “Seattle has made this possible – what a godsend!”

Zac and Sam met 4½ years ago and became engaged last December. “I’ll never forget that night,” said Zac Baker. “We were dancing the foxtrot and watching the Wizard of Oz on cable TV. Right as Dorothy and her friends emerged from the forest and see the Emerald City, Sam slipped a ring out of his pocket and on to my finger. Now as our own Emerald City is in view, I couldn’t be happier to say ‘I do’ to my greatest ally and closest friend.”

Hundreds of couples have entered the sweepstakes since the campaign launched July 1. Four wedding trips total are available, with ceremonies taking place the first Wednesday of the month, September through December. Any LGBTQ couple residing outside of Washington State is eligible to win.

“I’m so happy to welcome these two young men to Seattle and I’m honored to officiate their wedding ceremony,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Marriage equality is a particularly passionate topic for me, and I’m so proud of the way our city and state has come together to support this initiative and demonstrate what an open, welcoming destination we truly are.”

The Marry Me in Seattle campaign and wedding sweepstakes were developed in collaboration with Visit Seattle’s agency Copacino + Fujikado, in partnership with Here Media and funding by the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area, a dedicated marketing fund assessed from guests at 54 downtown Seattle hotels and administered by Visit Seattle.

The campaign web site,, features an essential Seattle LGBTQ marriage checklist that includes a link to Washington State’s marriage equality law (Referendum 74 which was passed by Washington voters in November 2012), information and links for marriage applications and licenses and a list of LGBTQ officiants. The web site also features a wedding resource guide that includes more than 30 Seattle romance packages, transportation, wedding music and DJs, florists, photographers, venues and catering companies. The site and resource list are permanent and continuously-updated.

Follow Zac and Sam’s story via social media with the hashtag #MarryMeInSeattle.

About Visit Seattle:

Visit Seattle, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years. The goal of these marketing efforts is to enhance the employment opportunities and economic prosperity of the region. Visit our About Us page for more information about Visit Seattle.

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