Niagara Falls Benefiting From Same Sex Marriage

May 10, 2012 Updated May 10, 2012 at 9:30 PM EDT

By WKBW News

May 10, 2012 Updated May 10, 2012 at 9:30 PM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WKBW-TV) - It's been nearly ten months since same sex marriage was legalized here in New York State and it's been a big draw for the City of Niagara Falls and local businesses.

"We have seen an uptick in tourism," said Melissa Morinello, Director of Marketing & Communications for Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation.

The might Niagara, a natural wonder of the world, a powerful waterfall that attracts visitors from all over the globe. For years it's been known as the honeymoon capital of the world where newlyweds would celebrate their nuptials and when New York legalized same sex marriage in July of 2011 it attracted a larger audience.

"I think this has brought in an additional market of folks that can come and get married here and spend time in our city," said Morinello.

Hundreds of gay couples flocked to the waters edge to say "i-do" last July in a ceremony that caught the worlds eye and sparked a business venture for Shanie McCowen owner of "Rainbow Bells".

"What a great gateway to bring people back here," said McCowen, "and now that I'm using it and it's working as a result it's been very rewarding."

McCowen says she's had several weddings and inquiries since the law was passed along with 10-more planned between now and July 4th. She sees herself as a full service concierge.

"Starting with travel arrangements, ground transportation, hotel accommodations, of course the ceremony itself, the cake, rings, attire whatever that they need, flowers," said McCowen.

Coming from all over the country and as far away as Australia, it's been a big boost to the local economy.

"They are coming here and they are spending money in our city," said Morinello. "They're staying in our hotels, they're eating at our restaurants, they're also shopping at our different retail outlets."

McCowen says while it's a personal venture for the couple having them come here provides so much more.