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07/06/2010

'Today', tomorrow, and the next day: We'll keep pushing against inequities

by Jeremy Hooper

Today-show-no-gayLast Wednesday, when we first noted the fact that NBC's "Today" is using a gender-specific application for their "Modern Love" wedding application, we never thought it would tun into such a thing. We had assumed that same-sex couples were allowed to apply, and that the "bride" and "groom" specific terms were merely a mistake that'd be remedied by acknowledgment.

But as you might have already heard: It turns out the same-sex couples *are* shut out of this year's contest, since we gay folk cannot legally marry in NYC (even if our marriages are recognized there). The show says that budget cuts force them to hold the televised ceremony at their Rockefeller Center studio (shutting out nearby CT or other marriage-allowing jurisdiction), and that the marriage must be legally-recognized (shutting out a commitment ceremony).

This doesn't sit well with us. It also doesn't sit well with our pals at GLAAD, who've taken our initial posting and ran with it in the way that a national, fully-financed group can and should. Take 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

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.

TAKE ACTION NOW [GLAAD]

**SEE ALSO: A Facebook effort

***

***UPDATE, 7/8: VICTORY!

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