July 9, 2010

'Today' show decision to open wedding contest to gay couples spurs heated debate

Posted: 03:41 PM ET


NBC's decision to allow gay couples to enter the "Today" show's annual wedding contest triggered a passionate online debate Friday, opening a new front in the fiercely waged battle over same-sex marriage.

The move came the same day as a federal judge in Boston ruled part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, ratcheting up the legal fight over the rights of gays to marry. Activists on both sides are also keenly anticipating a court ruling on the legality of California's ban on gay marriage.

The popular "Today" wedding contest, now in its 11th year, is an unexpected forum for a debate over social change. The segment invites viewers to act as wedding planners, voting on the couple who will get to marry at Rockefeller Plaza, what they will wear and where they will honeymoon. The theme of this year's wedding, which is scheduled to be held Oct. 6, is "modern love."

"Today" announced its decision Wednesday night after executive producer Jim Bell met with representatives of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which had complained that the contest application provided only an option for "bride" and "groom."

NBC said the contest had been limited to heterosexual couples because the weddings take place in New York state, which does not issue wedding licenses to gay couples. But after GLAAD leaders noted that New York recognizes the wedding licenses of gay couples legally obtained in other states, producers decided to change the rules.

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Filed under: Marriage

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Ashley Robles   July 9th, 2010 8:22 pm ET

Whats the problem with same sex marriage? Nothing! People, just accept the fact that you cant make them not be gay. If thats who they are just deal with it! it's not your life!

JOEY   July 9th, 2010 11:26 pm ET


Quincy G   July 10th, 2010 12:53 pm ET

The Today Show has officially moved into the 21st century! Hopefully, the American public will embrace NBC's decision to include both gay and straight couple's in this contest. I am sure some viewers won't approve, but thats life. Rome wasn't built in a day! There is so much prejudice and hatred against gays based upon ignorance and misunderstanding. I am however an eternal optimist. My prayer is that my (future) grandchildren will grow up in a world that accepts and embraces all humanity.

HR   July 12th, 2010 8:47 am ET

One more reason to NOT watch NBC – the nothing but crap tv network

Marilyn's Keepsakes   July 12th, 2010 2:25 pm ET

It's hard when topics like these can remain so controverisal, but kudos to The Today Show for moving forward and doing the right thing.

EJ   August 12th, 2010 10:42 am ET

Way to go!!! It is just the right thing to do!

ELK   August 12th, 2010 12:03 pm ET

This should be a non-issue. Everyone has a right to his or her own lifestyle. I do applaud NBC for taking the correct stance on the subject

Daniel Ming   August 12th, 2010 12:28 pm ET

My partner, John Glann, died of colon cancer in December 2007. We were together for almost 18 years. I was 22 when we met and he was 36. I wish I could have married him. But no piece of paper, no group of so called "Christians" can take away the love we had for each other. Whether we gay people ever get the recognition we deserve you still will not stop us from loving one another. In fact, you just make us that much stronger.!

R.Torres   August 12th, 2010 12:59 pm ET

Yay! I live in CT and when I found out it was legal here I was so happy. Just sad that other states have to be so close minded but kudos to NBC for stepping into the 'modern' times of today.

Mike Hipp   August 12th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

Two points

New York recognizes same gender marriages performed in other states. There is absolutely no reason that same gender couples from those states shouldn't be allowed to enter a contest about getting married in NY.

This is as it should be. Until people (meaning at large) start acting as if same gender marriage is no big deal, it will remain a big deal.

Kudos for The Today Show for recognizing marriage equality.

Erica   August 12th, 2010 1:41 pm ET

This news just makes me like the Today show even more.

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