A very Modern wedding

Before Cam & Mitch were hitched, other American shows did their bit for same-sex weddings too.

2014-05-24_0038Tomorrow’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:

1991 ROC
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

2011 CONAN
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.

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:

Modern Family airs 6:30pm Sunday on TEN.

Source: Advocate, Rolling Stone

6 Responses

  1. Interesting history. I remember Babylon 5 had a fake gay marriage where a couple of male characters had to get into Mars under aliases. Although really one was straight the other a (heterosexual) virgin. It was done as a joke. Although it did highlight the issue as it wasn’t considered unusual in the future in the 22nd century.

    As for the episode itself I was unimpressed with what they did to Star Trek last night. I hope they’ve played some ads on the radio so that might attract some viewers instead.

  2. I was hoping Shelley Long would be on the show tonight.

    How are they going to explain Mitchell’s own mother didn’t turn up at the wedding?

    Fingers crossed she does make an appearance. Loved her in Cheers and her cameos in MF have been hilarious.

  3. Ive just watched the 2 part Modern Family wedding (S05 E23 and E24) and I must say the last 2 minutes of E24 are amazing. Brilliantly done. Is TEN airing these last 2 eps back to back?

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