Wrestling's take on gay marriage airs Thursday

BY Advocate.com Editors

September 10 2002 12:00 AM ET

Pro wrestling, notorious for its shameless presentation of put-on as if it were reality, takes on gay marriage this Thursday, reports the New York Post's Page Six. On the September 12 episode of SmackDown! on UPN (check local listings for times), two wrestlers will get "married." A tag-team duo known as Billy and Chuck will tie the knot, according to World Wrestling Entertainment officials.

"It's a same-sex wedding--or, as the gay and lesbian community would call it, a commitment ceremony--on our season premier edition of SmackDown!," Stephanie McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment's creative television director, told Page Six. "The issue is certainly topical."

Unlike previous "dandy" wrestlers, who typically lost to more "macho" wrestling characters, Billy and Chuck have been world champions in the past year. They dress less flamboyantly in hot pants and white robes. Although the wrestlers, whose real names are Chuck Palumbo and Monty Sopp, are not a couple out of the ring, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation appears satisfied that they are at least an improvement on past gay stereotypes in wrestling, Page Six reports.

Continued McMahon: "What we like to do in our genre is bring in issues that are out there in society that are topical and bring them into our story lines.... We're entertainment. When [you] watch Six Feet Under on HBO and one of the [actors who plays the] gay characters says in an interview, 'I'm not really gay,' it doesn't affect your enjoyment of the show.... This wedding is designed to be entertaining and garner viewers and do what we do best."

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