10th Anniversary: TV's First Gay Kiss
Spangle Magazine editor Brian Patrick Thornton recalls the day ten years ago when he and his boyfriend pranked The Today Show and Al Roker to create what some consider the first kiss between two actual gay men on national television.
[T]hat morning, the first three Al Roker weather segments passed us over. We thought they must have figured us out as homos, despite our wearing our most heterosexual outfits. (Mine included an ill-fitting Structure polo shirt.) But then, in the 8:30 half-hour, Roker walked over to a couple celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary. What’s your secret, he asked. Pray, the husband answered. That finished, Roker barreled down the line of gathered fans, proclaiming that there was a guy who had something to ask. And with that, the camera and microphone were thrust in Rich’s and my faces. “Jill, I’ve got something I have to tell you,” I stammered. “I’m so happy that I love … Rich!” And with that, I turned to Rich, and we mashed our lips together in what is possibly the most awkwardly fashioned kiss in TV history. But it was history: the first (real) gay-male kiss broadcast in the U.S. Roker, to his credit, rolled with the punches, but moments later made this comment: “See, they wouldn’t do that on Will and Grace.”