NBC’s Today Show is taking applications for its “Modern Day Wedding Contest” through Friday, July 9th. The winning couple will be awarded a wedding to be broadcast live on the Today Show in October and an all-expense paid honeymoon. Unfortunately, the network has set up rules that deny committed gay and lesbian couples the ability to participate.
An excerpt from Today’s Facebook page reads: “TODAY is throwing a modern day wedding! Whether your love blossomed over the Internet or you met the old-fashioned way, we want to hear from you! GLAAD contacted the network last week to find out why its application listed only “bride” and “groom” as options for applicants since the Today Show welcomed same-sex couples to apply to its “Hometown Wedding Contest” in years past. Good As You blog alerted us to the application problem.
NBC sent GLAAD this statement regarding the 2010 Modern Day Wedding Contest:
“For the TODAY show wedding, the couple must be able to be legally married in New York, which is where the wedding will take place."
This is not a valid argument since New York State legally recognizes same-sex marriages licensed in other states. Same-sex couples can now legally obtain marriage licenses in Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington D.C. NBC is mistakenly equating the marriage license with the wedding celebration. Same-sex weddings are entirely legal in New York State. As long as the marriage license is conferred upon the same-sex couple by another state, New York State recognizes the marriage as a fully valid and legal one. NBC’s exclusion of same-sex couples from its contest is not motivated by the law, but bias against these couples.
The Today Show is awarding a wedding celebration, not a marriage license. If a same-sex couple won the contest, producers and the winning couple could easily work together to ensure that the couple properly obtained and complied with the requirements of a marriage license in one of the license-conferring jurisdictions. The full wedding celebration would then take place on the Today Show. Given these legal realities, GLAAD has urged NBC to amend its contest rules and allow same-sex couples to apply.
“Today Show’s ‘Modern Wedding Contest’ should recognize what most fair-minded Americans have already concluded - a wedding celebrates love and commitment, whether the spouses are straight or gay,” said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “NBC should stop denying gay and lesbian couples the ability to share their stories of love and commitment and open its wedding contest to all couples.”