Posted on July 9, 2010
by David Cohen

From: GLAAD President Mr. Jarrett Barrios, and I would like to share it with you.

Dear Friend of GLAAD,

We’re writing today to thank 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