Caesars Supports Marriage Equality with a Wedding Giveaway

Mar 3, 2014 5:30 PM ET

Originally published on Triple Pundit

Alexis Petru | Monday March 3rd, 2014

New Jersey became the fourteenth state to legalize gay marriage last October, and now Caesars Entertainment is joining in the festivities, offering one lucky couple an extravagant $50,000 wedding package at one of the company’s Caesars, Harrah’s, Bally’s and Showboat resorts and casinos in Atlantic City.

Dubbed the “Love Is Love” giveaway, the prize features a wedding ceremony and reception for 100 guests, a cocktail hour, dinner, custom cake designed by celebrity chef Deb Pellegrino, two-hour open bar, photographers, flowers and entertainment. The winning couple will also receive bachelor or bachelorette parties, a day-after brunch for up to 50 guests and luxury accommodations for their guests and themselves.

To enter the contest, couples have until March 14 to make a video explaining why they’re the best duo to win the prize, and post it to Instagram tagging @Total_AC and using the hashtag #LoveIsLoveInAC. All Instagram users are invited to vote in the contest, searching the #LoveIsLoveInAC hashtag and “liking” their favorite video. A panel of judges will select the winning couple from the five most “liked” videos.

While naysayers may be quick to criticize Caesars Entertainment’s “Love Is Love” contest as a publicity stunt rather than a political statement advocating marriage equality, the company touts its long record supporting the LGBT community: Caesars scored 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for six consecutive years and partners with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and Human Rights Campaign.

Whether you think Caesars cares about equal rights for the LGBT community or is simply looking for good PR, it is becoming increasingly clear that LGBT discrimination is bad for business.

Last week, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have given the state’s business owners the right to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers because of their religious beliefs. But before Brewer could strike down the controversial legislation, the Hispanic National Bar Association said it cancelled plans to hold its annual convention in Arizona next year, and the National Football League, set to host the 2015 Super Bowl at the University of Phoenix’s stadium, started looking for alternative venues in case the bill was signed into law. JPMorgan Chase, one of Arizona’s largest employers, also took a stand against the bill, and tech companies like Apple and AT&T urged the governor to veto it, saying the law was discriminatory and would damage the state’s business climate.

While it’s challenging to call a company that encourages the unhealthy behavior of gambling, smoking and drinking socially responsible, it is refreshing to see a corporation make such bold statements in support of marriage equality in a campaign, rather than simply quietly acknowledging the importance of acceptance and nondiscrimination in its corporate policy.

Also last week, Caesars received a climate leadership award from the Environmental Protection Agency for achieving its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This accomplishment, along with Caesars’ pro-marriage equality giveaway contest, demonstrates that casino companies can strive for good corporate citizenship–just in their own way.

Passionate about both writing and sustainability, Alexis Petru is freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose work has appeared on Earth911, Huffington Post and Prior to working as a writer, she coordinated environmental programs for Bay Area cities and counties. Connect with Alexis on Twitter at @alexispetru