Now that same-sex marriage has been legalised, it seems unusual to think of a time when it wasn’t portrayed in our media. These days, we are now seeing LGBTQ+ relationships on our screens, signalling even more progress towards equality and acceptance. However, only a few years ago, celebrating same-sex relationships on TV was seen as bold and daring. Here are some of our favourite TV same-sex marriages that led the way.
It’s hard to believe it but 1991 was thirty years ago! It was also the same year that US television aired their very first same-sex marriage. The show was Fox sitcom, Roc, a comedy drama about a garbage collector Roc Emerson and his family. In season one, an episode called “Can’t Help Loving That Man”, focussing on Roc’s uncle revealing to everyone that he was gay and the family’s struggles to accept his lifestyle. The episode ends with Roc hosted his uncle’s wedding ceremony in his home and was such a game-changer that it won a GLAAD award that year.
Just four years later, TV show Roseanne also embraced same-sex marriage. Aired in 1995, the episode titled “December Bride” showed Leon marrying his boyfriend in a gloriously extravagant and very redneck wedding. However at this point, same-sex marriage portrayals were still seen as “daring” and the episode actually aired in a later time slot than usual as it was considered “adult content”.
One of the most well-known and popular shows in the world, Friends aired their own same-sex wedding a year later in 1996. After Carol left Ross, she eventually married her partner Susan in the episode “The One With the Lesbian Wedding”. The episode had some heartbreaking moments, like when Carol’s parents refused to come to the wedding and support her, but also provided some insightful social commentary when Ross offered to walk her down the aisle instead.
Sadly, the scene was still banned in some US states and the couple also weren’t allowed to kiss on air.
This wholesome sitcom was one of the first to feature a gay couple as part of their main cast. Cam and Mitch are one of the most hilarious and loving couples in the show, and audiences around the world fell in love with their easygoing dynamic and honest portrayals of relationships. Their wedding was covered in a two-part episode in the Season 5 finale and was simply titled “The Wedding”. Although it was easily one of the most unlucky weddings in TV history (Cam receives the wrong tux, the in-laws get into a fight, the wedding venue literally catches on fire and is evacuated), it ends in a simple and poignant ceremony that warmed the hearts of millions of viewers.