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N.J. banquet halls hope top court gives its blessing to gay marriage

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Weddings are big business, and if the Supreme Court decides to legalize same-sex marriage, it could result in bigger bookings business at New Jersey's banquet halls.

"I'm all for it," said Vito Cucci, one of the owners of Nanina's in the Park, in Belleville, and The Park Savoy, in Florham Park. "If same-sex marriage is legal, it would certainly increase the amount of weddings we do. On a personal basis, I think it's the fair thing for everyone. If people choose to be married on a same-sex basis, hey, why not? We've done some commitment ceremonies in the past. We accept it just as any marriage."

Marc Hamel, president of the Palace at Somerset Park, in the Somerset section of Franklin, said he has been following the Supreme Court discussions closely and would love to see same-sex marriage become a reality in New Jersey.

"We are all for equality," he said. "After all, we are in the love business."

Hamel said that for the past few years, he has been advertising the Palace's wedding services in gay-friendly magazines and websites, and if same-sex marriage became legal, he would likely step up marketing to those groups through social media.

"New Jersey is a pretty big wedding state," he said. "There are so many venues out there, but maybe some won't want to be associated with it. For myself, I'm happy to see things are changing."

Even with all the promotions he has done, Hamel said he has hosted less than 10 civil celebrations since The Palace opened in 2005.

"If it's not accepted in the state or if it's too challenging, couples just go to a destination instead," Hamel said.

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