Gay wedding expo increases security after Orlando shooting - Tucson News Now

Gay wedding expo increases security after Orlando shooting

(Kristin Haubrich/ (Kristin Haubrich/
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Pride Guide Arizona held the Gay Wedding Expo at the J.W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson on Sunday afternoon. The event was originally scheduled to take place at the end of June, but because of the horrific mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando on June 12, organizers postponed the event.
The President and CEO of Pride Guide, Michael McFall, hired two Tucson Police officers as an extra security measure for the expo on September 25.  Many of the folks attending the expo were happy to have the visual presence of the police officers. 
“I knew the very first ten minutes I met her. I said she’s an amazing woman,” Kimberlin Black said.  Her eyes light up as she tells the story of how she met her fiancé, Maria, at a teacher’s conference in New Mexico at the beginning of this year.
“It took her six months to build up the courage to ask me out,” Maria Tadeo said.

The couple soon got engaged and started wedding planning, but the horrific mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub brought all those plans to an abrupt halt. The shooting left the LGBT community devastated.
“I thought it was completely tragic, especially in that setting,” Tadeo said.
The Gay Wedding Expo was scheduled to take place just two weeks later, but organizers had second thoughts about hosting the event.
“We talked to J.W. Marriott and said we’re really concerned about security, we had vendors worried and a lot of people mourning,” McFall said.

“You wonder if it’s going to happen anywhere else. It could definitely hit home,” Desert Diamond Casino Banquet Manager, Michael Blue said.

Organizers were determined to not let the fear surrounding that shooting stop them from holding the expo. They made the decision to postpone the event to September and increase the security.
For Maria and Kimberlin, they too are determined to rise above the hate and are looking forward to their "happily ever after."
“I’ve always said no matter what we face, no matter what obstacles we’ll overcome, love we will conquer all and persevere,” Black said.

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