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Conversations between GLAAD and the Today show over the program's
Modern Day Wedding Contest have paid off: Today announced
Thursday it will open the competition to same-sex couples.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation approached the show to change its rules and allow gay couples to compete after discovering "bride" and "groom" were the only two options on the entry form.
A spokesperson for the show said same-sex couples couldn't enter the competition because gay marriage is not legal in the state of New York. After various media outlets called on gay and lesbian couples to demand that Today change its rules, producers for the show requested a meeting with GLAAD.
"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," said GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios. "NBC heard GLAAD and 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 to make the new contest submission deadline of 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."
The winning couple will be awarded a wedding to be broadcast live on Today in October and an all-expenses-paid honeymoon.
Read the statement from Today: "Over the past few days Today has received a considerable response regarding our wedding contest application. The rules stated that eligible couples must be able to be legally married in New York, where we will host the wedding, therefore excluding same-sex couple applicants. Our intent was not to be discriminatory or exclusive. In 2005 when the wedding took place outside of New York, the application process was open to same-sex couples. We have listened to every voicemail and read every email. We take this feedback seriously, and we will change our application process. Today is a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, and GLAAD considers us an ally. We are committed to keeping those relationships strong and positive. We have opened up the application process to same-sex couples, and will extend the deadline to Monday, July 12. Moving forward, we ensure that our future wedding contests will be inclusive of all couples."