CNN’s Lola Ogunnaike reports a story about the first gay marriage on a network soap; last week’s union of Erika Kane’s daughter Bianca to her paramour Reese on “All My Children.” The happy occasion was as full of bigass flower arrangements, cheesy self-written vows and soft-focus money shots as every soap wedding that came before it (and check out Bianca’s odd, bedazzled toga-gown, which looks like it came from a yard sale on the back lot of HBO’s “Rome.”) Unlike the first gay network marriage, of two men on “Roseanne”, which came with arch nods and winks, pink triangles and a huge picture of Judy Garland over the altar, this wedding was played completely straight, and demanded the same envious sighs from the viewer as any other romantic wedding.
Mainstream entertainment has been inching towards acceptance for a while now, but to my mind this is as radical as People putting Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s wedding on their cover. Both People and “All My Children”‘s core audience is not the coastal, liberal, gay-accepting reader/viewer—although they are certainly represented—but the more conservative, church-going middle Americans to whom gay marriage is still culturally scandalous and politically anathema.
Of course, it would have been really revolutionary if the married couple was male. The marriage of two beautiful, feminine women doesn’t provoke the same kind of knee-jerk discomfort–let alone outrage–as the marriage of two handsome, masculine men would (Clive Owen and Daniel Craig, anyone? Anyone?) But it’s a big step nonetheless, and as an increasingly rabid supporter of gay marriage, I give big props to the producers of “All My Children.”
And “mazel tov” to Reese and Bianca. They’re gonna need it, and not just because of the homophobes: as every soap fan knows, the course of true love never runs smooth—it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun for viewers.