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06/30/2010

Today's Wedding: Yesterday's labels

by Jeremy Hooper

There's nothing in the Today Show's eligibility requirements that stipulates the couple who they (with the help of America) choose to marry on national television has to be male/female. In fact, when the question arose a few years back, producers made it clear that same-sex couples were indeed eligible for their A.M. contest. So assuming that's still the case in 2010: Yay, progress! Especially now that (a) TODAY producers can throw a legally-binding same-sex soiree just a short drive away from their NY studio (CT being the closest by far) or right outside the door of their D.C. bureau, and (b) Kathie Lee and Hoda's presence will ensure that the open bar will be flowing.

However, we are somewhat troubled to see that on the very first page of this year's application form, one half of any same-sex couple who should apply for the chance to have the world's best wedding video is forced to lie about their gender in order to fit into the heterosexist box:

Screen Shot 2010-06-30 At 8.34.19 Am-1
Today's Wedding: Modern.Love Application [Facebook]

Now, as someone who's been through the marriage process, I know firsthand that this is not an anomaly. Many of my own vendors handed me forms that required either me or them to draw lines through the word bride in order to fit my and my then-fiancé's legal reality. So I don't want to imply that TODAY is some big, bad homo-hostile outlet that stands apart from the wedding industry writ large. Many well-intentioned people are trying to catch up, some of them waiting for that one "Aha!" moment that'll forever open their eyes to the casual exclusivity they'd been fostering.

But this is not some mom and pop flower shop: TODAY is a particularly high profile outlet. America's number one morning show. Countless people will surely apply for this contest -- it'd be nice for the show to provide a benignly teachable moment here, so that their "modern.love" contest will truly keep up with the times.

**UPDATE: GLAAD joins us on this: Today Show Wedding Contest Application Needs an Update to Include Same-Sex Couples [GLAAD Blog]

****

*UPDATE, 7/1: Turns out we were too generous with our assumptions. It turns out that "Today" is not allowing gay couples this year. The couple must be able to legally marry in NY state (where same-sex marriage is recognized but not performed): Today Show Wedding Contestants Must Be Able to Legally Marry in New York [GLAAD]

***UPDATE, 7/8: VICTORY!

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