Source AP ©

Disney grants wedding ceremonies for gay couples

The Walt Disney Co. has a popular Fairy Tale Wedding program, now changed to allow for commitment ceremonies between same-sex couples.

Disney had previously limited access to the program to couples with a valid marriage license.

The company said it will now include ceremonies for gay couples at its parks and cruise line after being contacted by a gay couple that wanted to participate in the program.

"We believe this change is consistent with Disney's long-standing policy of welcoming every guest in an inclusive environment," Disney Parks and Resorts spokesman Donn Walker said Friday. "We want everyone who comes to celebrate a special occasion at Disney to feel welcome and respected."

The Fairy Tale Wedding service offers packages starting at $8,000 (5,980 EUR) and running to $45,000 (33,650 EUR) or more.

Ceremonies are offered at Disneyland in California and at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, as well as on Disney's cruise ships.

Packages include flowers, dining, music and other extras, depending on the location. Walt Disney World has a dedicated wedding pavilion and for an extra fee, couples can exchange vows in front of the park's iconic attractions, including Cinderella's castle.

The more lavish packages also include having Mickey and Minnie Mouse in formal wear as guests.

Groups not affiliated with Disney have held annual "gay days" celebrations at Disney parks for years. Company officials have taken a tolerant attitude to the weekend, allowing party promoters to rent out parks after hours and rebuffing religious groups that condemned Disney.

In 2005, Southern Baptists ended an eight-year boycott of the Walt Disney Co. for violating "moral righteousness and traditional family values."

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