A very Modern wedding
Before Cam & Mitch were hitched, other American shows did their bit for same-sex weddings too.
Tomorrow’s Modern Family gay wedding is certainly a progressive television statement, largely because it takes place in such a broadly popular US show, and because such weddings are legal in many US states.
That wasn’t the case when US television saw its first same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies.
A Gallup Poll this week now indicates 55% of Americans support same-sex marriage, the highest it has ever been. Television and popular culture play their part in reflecting social change.
In Australia, even Rodney Croome, National Director of Australian Marriage Equality, has thrown a bouquet to Mitchell Pritchett (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron Tucker (Eric Stonestreet).
“This week’s groundbreaking Modern Family wedding is a reminder that love, commitment and family are what marriage equality is all about,” he says.
“I call on politicians from all parties to have a heart and let loving couples like Mitch and Cam marry in Australia. As the Modern Family wedding shows, gay and straight people share the same aspiration to love and be loved, and it’s time we also shared the same legal rights, responsibilities and recognition.”
“It’s the evolution of a gay couple that at the end of it you forget that they’re gay,” Ferguson has said. “I think that when a lot of people watch the wedding episode, they’re going to see it as a marriage between two people that they care very much about and forget that it is a wedding between two men specifically.”
Stonestreet adds: “We hope it creates a conversation with viewers and also their families and friends to see that Mitch and Cam are just like everyone else.”
Paving the way for Modern Family‘s nuptials were shows dating back more than 20 years:
The first same-sex wedding on U.S. television was the FOX sitcom Roc way back in 1991. The Season One episode “Can’t Help Loving That Man,” focuses on Roc’s uncle (Richard Roundtree) revealing he’s gay, and the family’s subsequent struggle to accept his lifestyle, ultimately culminating with Roc (Charles S. Dutton) hosting the ceremony in his home. The episode took home a GLAAD award that year for the positive portrayal.
Roseanne planned the wedding for her friend Leon to his fiancé Scott, with male strippers and drag queens. She even went as far as creating a groom-and-groom cake topper, using part of a classic wedding figure and a Pocahontas action figure. It was, if anything, too gay, and offended Leon’s conservative nature.
In “The One with the Lesbian Wedding,” Ross’ ex-wife, Carol, ties the knot with Susan in a ceremony presided by a minister played by Newt Gingrich’s real-life, real-lesbian sister, Candace Gingrich.
2002 QUEER AS FOLK
Lesbians Lindsay (Thea Gill) and Melanie (Michelle Clunie) tied the knot before the Queer As Folk boys. The series would eventually lead Michael (Hal Sparks) and Ben (Robert Gant) down the aisle too across the border in Canada – but, sadly, not Brian (Gale Harold) and Justin (Randy Harrison), who called off their engagement in the series finale.
2005 SIX FEET UNDER
In its famous fast-forward finale sequence, longtime lovers David (Michael C. Hall) and Keith (Mathew St. Patrick) wed at the altar. It was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ceremony between the couple.
2008 BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Kevin (Matthew Rhys) and Scotty (Luke Macfarlane) from Brothers & Sisters, wed in 2008. The boys also managed to get a happy ending on the series finale after working through some marital issues and ended up with a picture-perfect family with two happy children.
2011 GREY’S ANATOMY
In the episode “White Wedding,” Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) get hitched in a traditionally lavish ceremony, juxtaposing the courthouse quickie between Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) that takes place at the same time.
Conan O’Brien made TV history when he officiated the on-air wedding of his longtime costume designer Scott Cronick to partner David Gorshein on air.
2012 THE REAL L WORD
Unlike the scripted Showtime drama, in which Shane (Katherine Moennig) and Carmen (Sarah Shahi) called off their wedding at the 11th hour, one real-life couple went through with their ceremony on reality series, The Real L Word.
Daytime Soap has also included gay weddings:
2009 All My Children
2014 Days of Our Lives
And a shout-out to Australia:
2012 ADAM HILLS IN GORDON STREET TONIGHT
Modern Family airs 6:30pm Sunday on TEN.