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LGBTQ History #3: Same-Sex Wedding Airs on Friends

From 1994 to 2004, Thursday night television was pretty self-explanatory and centered around one show: Friends.

January 18, 1996 was a typical night of Friends. Joey made his first appearance on Days of our Lives, Rachel’s mom Sandra announced that she was leaving her father, and one of Phoebe’s clients died on the massage table, only to jump into Phoebe’s body.

Let’s see, something else happened that night…oh yeah, there was a lesbian wedding! Ross’ ex-wife Carol announced plans to marry her love, Susan. While this was the first lesbian wedding on network television, it wasn’t the first gay wedding that season. Earlier in the year, Rosanne planned the wedding of her boss Leon and his husband.

One of the big controversies of the episode was the officiant who was played by gay activist and HRC’s Associate Director of Youth and Campus Engagement Program, Candace Gingrich. Yes, a Gingrich, as in related to Newt Gingrich. Candace appearing as an officiant of a lesbian wedding on national television was less about it being a lesbian wedding as it was more about snubbing the Republican party of her half brother. And I know that some us D.C. folks live for moments like that.


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