Today Show Wedding Contestants Must Be Able to Legally Marry in New York

By GLAAD |
July 1, 2010

Yesterday we told you about a problem in the application for NBC "Today Show's" wedding contest. The contest is called: "TODAY's Wedding: Modern Love," but the application form only lists “bride” and “groom” as the options for couples to choose. The blog "Good As You" first alerted GLAAD to this issue. It concerned us because the Today Show opened up its "Hometown Wedding" contest to same-sex couples in states where they could legally marry back in 2005. That happened following GLAAD's outreach and we assumed this contest was also open to our community.

After speaking with a representative from "Today" we found out that the actual wedding for this latest contest is going to take place at a venue in New York and the couple must be able to legally marry in the state. New York State unfortunately does not yet have marriage equality. Same-sex couples who marry legally outside of New York are, however, recognized by the state.

Statement from Today:

"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."

"Today" has chosen New York to stay within budget, since most of its key crew and core operations are located there. While we understand production constraints and recognize this is not the "Hometown Wedding" contest, it's still disappointing that same-sex couples that can legally marry in Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington D.C. are not eligible to participate with "Today" since the show's contest requires a legal wedding in New York. "Today" should also consider New York same-sex couples that can legally marry elsewhere and are recognized by the state.

We're asking the program to look seriously at amending its rules to allow same-sex couples to apply for the contest regardless of whether they can marry in New York State, since committed gay and lesbian couples regularly declare their love in commitment ceremonies across the country. Why not throw a commitment ceremony on "Today" if a same-sex couple is allowed in the contest and ends up winning?

We also pointed out to "Today" that its current eligibility requirements do not specify that the wedding be in New York.  GLAAD has asked NBC to revise the language so interested couples are aware of the restrictions. The network confirmed today that it would make the revision.

We're still discussing the overall issue with NBC and we'll keep you updated on any new developments in our outreach.

Issues: