You Spoke and NBC Listened: Today Show’s "Modern Day Wedding Contest" Opened to Same-Sex Couples

GLAAD thanks you for speaking out about NBC Today Show’s "Modern Wedding Contest." This afternoon after GLAAD met with NBC executives and shared our community's concerns, the network agreed to open the contest to same-sex couples.

The announcement comes a week after GLAAD learned that the contest had excluded gay and lesbian people. Good As You blog first alerted us to the problem after discovering the contest’s application included only "bride" and "groom" as options for applicants to choose.

After we called the network with concerns, NBC argued that it was excluding same-sex couples because "the couple must be able to be legally married in New York, which is where the wedding will take place."

GLAAD questioned the validity of that 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 mistakenly equated the marriage license with the wedding celebration. Same-sex weddings are entirely legal in New York State.  

Our Call to Action prompted thousands of you to write to NBC and urge the network to give our community the same opportunity to share our stories of love and commitment and allow us the chance to participate in the contest.

This afternoon NBC and the Today Show did just that.  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.

Thanks to the thousands of people who sent emails to the Today Show, blogged about it, and shared the Call to Action on Twitter and Facebook.  We could not have done it without you!

Lastly, we encourage you to support GLAAD today with a donation, so we can continue launching successful campaigns that amplify the voice of our community.


Jarrett Barrios, GLAAD President

Media Release - July 8, 2010: GLAAD Praises NBC Decision to Open Today Show’s “Modern Day Wedding Contest” to Same-Sex Couples

Call to Action

Gay and Lesbian People Need Not Apply: Call on NBC to Stop Today Show’s “Modern Day Wedding Contest” from Denying Gay and Lesbian Couples the Right to Participate

Network Uses Faulty Reasoning to Exclude Participants



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UPDATE - JULY 7, 2010: NBC's Today Show Asks to Meet with GLAAD

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!”  Read more about the contest.

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.”

Help us and take action now!

Click here to contact NBC and urge the network to open Today’s “Modern Day Wedding” Contest to same-sex couples. Call on NBC to demonstrate a commitment to fairness and inclusion by providing equal opportunity to qualified gay and straight couples alike. 

NBC Contacts:

Jim Bell, Executive Producer
NBC Today Show
(212) 664-4602
today@nbc.com
jim.bell@nbcuni.com

Lauren Kapp, Senior Vice President, NBC News Marketing & Communications
NBC Television Network
(212) 664-4444
lauren.kapp@nbcuni.com

William Bartlett, Corporate Communications Senior Vice-President
NBC Television Network
(212) 664-4444
william.bartlett@nbcuni.com

Kathy Kelly-Brown, Corporate Communications Senior Vice-President
NBC Television Network
(212) 664-4444
kathy.kelly-brown@nbcuni.com

Megan Kopf, Corporate Communications Manager
NBC Television Network
(212) 664-4444
megan.kopf@nbcuni.com

GLAAD's Wedding Contest Tell us your Story
Since NBC's Today Show is excluding same-sex couples from applying to its “Modern Day Wedding Contest,” GLAAD invites you to apply to us and share your personal story of love.  We will compile the stories of committed same-sex couples, share them on our blog and forward them to NBC.

By sharing your story and sending an e-mail to producers, you are sending an important message to NBC and all Americans: that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same opportunities to celebrate our love and commitment.

Tell your followers on Twitter
Please RT - Call on @NBC to Open @TodayShow Wedding Contest to Same-Sex Couples http://bit.ly/telltoday

Other Community Actions
Read what other community members are saying about the Today Show contest.

GLAAD Contacts:

Richard Ferraro
Director of Communications
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

Cindi Creager
Director of National News
(646) 871-8019
creager@glaad.org