After a meeting with gay and lesbian activists last week, NBC's "Today" show said it is changing the rules for its annual wedding contest to allow same-sex couples to apply for a ceremony conducted on morning TV.
NBC extended the deadline for applications until today. Already thousands of couples have expressed interest in the on-air wedding, which the top-rated morning show has sponsored for a decade, a spokeswoman said.
Same-sex couples have been excluded because New York state law does not allow them to get wedding licenses. But NBC said the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation pointed out that a same-sex couple would be able to get a license from another state and still have their ceremony in New York.
"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 Jarrett Barrios, president of GLAAD.
Viewers plan every aspect of the wedding, from the cake to the clothing styles of attendants. NBC picks four couples from thousands of applicants, and viewers vote on which of those couples will participate.