Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak on Thursday headed to Chicago, Illinois to drum up gay marriage business for his city and state.

At a press conference held at the Center on Halsted, Rybak unveiled a new advertising campaign aimed at attracting gay and lesbian couples to Minnesota to exchange vows.

“Chicago is my kind of town, but right now, it's a second city in human rights,” Rybak told reporters. “Right now that gives a tremendous competitive advantage to Minneapolis. The people who built this neighborhood, who have done so much incredible work for this community, you deserve equal rights. Come to Minnesota, a place that already recognizes that you should have those rights.”

A law allowing gay couples to marry took effect on August 1 in Minnesota, making it only the second state in the Midwest to recognize such unions, the other being Iowa. While Illinois recognizes gay couples with civil unions, a marriage law stalled earlier this year in the Illinois House. The federal government has announced that it will not recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships for the purpose of benefits, providing an added incentive for couples to travel outside Illinois to marry.

The I Want to Marry You in Minneapolis ad campaign is sponsored by Minneapolis' convention and visitors' association. According to ChicagoPride.com, it will launch in multiple cities, including Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Denver.

However, Chicago, America's largest city with a marriage ban, is the Midwest's most promising market for gay brides and grooms by a country mile.

“So come on up to Minneapolis,” Rybak continued. “Some day, I hope Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel can come up and try to steal the same type of business out of Minneapolis. But in the meantime, welcome to Minneapolis. We want to marry you.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)