NBC's Today Show will
open its annual Modern Wedding Contest to gay and lesbian couples.
The announcement comes a week after the
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) began
protesting the network's decision to exclude gay couples from this
year's annual contest.
Network executives met with GLAAD
representatives on Thursday.
“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,” GLAAD said in a blog
entry at its website.
Producers have also agreed to extend
the deadline for the contest until Monday, July 12 to allow time for
gay couples to submit their applications.
The popular contest asks viewers to
plan the wedding – from soup to nuts – of one lucky couple, who
then marry live on the air sometime in the fall on NBC's dime.
Executives at the network said they did
not intend to exclude anyone, noting that gay marriage is illegal in
the state of New York from where the show is broadcast. Gay
advocates, however, pointed out that a gay couple could marry in
neighboring Connecticut or Canada, or in nearby District of Columbia,
and have the ceremony on the show. Additionally, the group argued,
the state of New York recognizes the out-of-state marriages of gay
Today producers will cull
through thousands of entries before deciding on four candidates.
Viewers will then pick which couple will receive their fairy tale