Friday, July 9, 2010

Today Show to Allow Gay Couples in Wedding Contest

NBC's The Today Show caved in to pressure from the LGBT community and GLAAD over their decision not to allow gays and lesbians to participate in the Modern Day Wedding contest. The prize is a big fancy-schmancy wedding in New York, paid for by the peacock network.

The "straights only" policy was first made public by the blog, Good As You, which caught the attention of GLAAD, who called on Today to open the contest to same-sex couples. Online petitions and e-mail campaigns were launched, which made the suits at NBC sit up and take notice.

Contest organizers (and a lot of us as well) were under the mistaken impression that same-sex marriage was illegal in New York State. GLAAD pointed out that although New York cannot legally issue licenses to same-sex couples, the state does recognize those licenses issued in states where same-sex marriage is legal and therefore, for couples with such a  license, a ceremony can legally take place. Confused yet?

Today Show producers posted the following on its website yesterday:
Over the past few days TODAY has received a considerable response regarding our wedding contest application. The rules stated that eligible couples must be able to be legally married in New York, where we will host the wedding, therefore excluding same-sex couple applicants. Our intent was not to be discriminatory or exclusive. In 2005 when the wedding took place outside of New York, the application process was open to same-sex couples. We have listened to every voicemail and read every email. We take this feedback seriously, and we will change our application process. TODAY is a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, and GLAAD considers us an ally. We are committed to keeping those relationships strong and positive. We have opened up the application process to same-sex couples, and will extend the deadline to Monday, July 12. Moving forward, we ensure that our future wedding contests will be inclusive of all couples.
GLAAD said in a statement yesterday afternoon:
Following a meeting between GLAAD and NBC executives, NBC announced that after listening to community concerns it will open the contest to same-sex couples and extend the submission deadline until Monday, July 12. Couples now have until then to apply.  Finalists will be announced later this year and the wedding takes place live on the Today Show this October.

We’re thrilled that Today Show's ‘Modern Wedding Contest’ now recognizes what most fair-minded Americans have already concluded - a wedding celebrates love and commitment, whether the spouses are straight or gay. NBC heard the thousands of viewers who contacted them and they have moved to make their contest a truly modern wedding where any couple can share their story. NBC is living up to its own high standard of fairness and for this, we applaud them.  We encourage qualified same-sex couples to submit their applications before Monday, July 12 and we look forward to next year when same-sex couples will have the ability to apply to the contest from the beginning.
 Interested couples can submit their applications via the Today Show FaceBook page.

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