Following a statement in March that gays and lesbians cannot take part in its theme parks’ popular “Fairy Tale” wedding program, the Walt Disney Co. has changed its policy to allow same-sex couples to hold weddings at its two U.S. resorts and cruise line, a Disney spokesman said April 4.
Previously Disney permitted same-sex couples to hold weddings or commitment ceremonies at rented meeting rooms at the resorts, but had barred them from purchasing its Fairy Tale Wedding package and holding the event at locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World that are set aside specifically for weddings.
“We are updating our Fairy Tale Wedding guidelines to include commitment ceremonies,” Disney Parks and Resorts spokesman Donn Walker said. “This is consistent with our policy of creating a welcoming, respectful and inclusive environment for all of our guests.”
Walker said the change was prompted by “an inquiry from a guest that asked about this service.”
“We are not in the business of making judgments about the lifestyle of our guests. We are in the hospitality business, and our parks and resorts are open to everyone,” Walker said.
Last month, gay website AfterElton.com criticized Disney for not allowing same-sex couples to participate in the Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons program.
In recent years Disney has been the subject of boycotts from evangelical Christians, including the American Family Association (AFA), who attempted to derail the company for “promoting a gay agenda.”
Although AFA lifted the eight-year boycott of Disney in 2005, religious conservatives are still unhappy about the company’s inclusive policies and for years have attempted to prevent the annual “Gay Days at Disney” celebration.
The timing of the announcement about the new policy and this year’s “Gay Day” celebration at the Orlando resort is apparently coincidental. “Gay Day at The Magic Kingdom at Disney World” takes place June 2.