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The Story Behind TIME Magazine's Gay Marriage Cover


Earlier this morning I posted TIME magazine's latest cover on gay marriage.

The magazine has now posted some backstory:

To illustrate Von Drehle’s story, TIME invited same-sex couples in California and New York to share some intimate moments for photographer Peter Hapak. Two of these couples, Sarah Kate and Kristen Ellis-Henderson (married in 2011) and Russell Hart and Eric LaBonté (engaged since 2010), appear on our cover this week.

TIME has also posted a slide show of many of the photos.

Some of the couples who participated in the TIME cover shoot are married and all are in long-term committed relationships. Jake Harrison (below), who was photographed with his partner Christopher Cunningham, is among those happily stunned at how quickly U.S. culture has shifted to embrace same-sex couples. “Growing up, there really weren’t gay characters on TV,” says Harrison. “To go from that to gay people on primetime television and out gay politicians is a huge evolution.”

TIME says its newsstand editions will be split between the male and female covers.

And here's the cover story...


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  1. What do make-out sessions have to do with marriage equality?

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Mar 28, 2013 10:36:57 AM

  2. everything.

    PDA is a massive part of The Movement.

    this is echoed by the millions of gay people who despite being Out still say thigns like "well, ____ knows i'm gay we just don't talk about it"

    what the right is objecting to is the exploding into the streets. the refusal to cower and hide. that we no longer censor, edit, compartmentalize and neuter ourselves, publicly, for fear of What Others Think.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 28, 2013 10:50:15 AM

  3. "What do make-out sessions have to do with marriage equality?"

    Because every marriage ceremony ever ends with a kiss. Duh.

    Posted by: ripper | Mar 28, 2013 10:54:23 AM

  4. Could have been a little more forward thinking and been a bit more "diverse" with the couples...

    Just sayin'. That's a lot of white people kissing.

    Posted by: timothytoon | Mar 28, 2013 11:01:21 AM

  5. I think it's wrong to say because we're winning on marriage equality that we've won public opinion of our community in America. I don't really think that's true. There's still clearly a ton of hate, a major percentage of us are still closeted or halfway out, hate crimes are extremely high, bullying is still common in schools, we still don't have that much *positive* recognition on major TV shows/channels and in movies, and we still have legislatures countrywide discriminating against us. We can't even pass equality in a major blue state like Illinois. I think people are jumping the gun a bit on that, but it is great to see the progress we have made. I never would have imagined that even a year ago.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 28, 2013 11:28:29 AM

  6. Good covers.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Mar 28, 2013 11:29:45 AM

  7. Points taken.

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Mar 28, 2013 11:40:42 AM

  8. I think the covers are great. One of the consistent complaints about about gays is that we're "shoving it down their throats" and how offended they are by PDAs. Based on that you'd think that str8 people never show affection in public and that we are inundated by heterosexual kissing in the media, in public, etc.

    So I see it partly as a desensitization thing, here it is, now get over it.

    And slightly off-topic, but I'd totally kiss the bearded guy in that bottom photo!

    Posted by: Caliban | Mar 28, 2013 12:11:58 PM

  9. Notice that the Time editorial board decided that it's ok to show two women open-mouth kissing, but not two men. Make no mistake, that says something about how the board thinks readers--probably straight male readers--will react to these covers.

    Posted by: matt | Mar 28, 2013 12:17:06 PM

  10. My Asian partner and I would have liked to see some people of color in those photos too.

    Posted by: Ken | Mar 28, 2013 12:28:51 PM

  11. OK, so why did the Time editorial board go with two photos of white couples? Editorial boards want to focus readers directly on the topic in question. In this case, gay marriage. So, they go with the photo that is least likely to cause the reader's thoughts to go to other things. Race would be a diversion here. They don't want the readers to see race, they want them only to see gender.
    I was a magazine editor for years. This is how such issues are decided when editors sit down in the conference room to hash out which photo to use on the cover.

    Posted by: matt | Mar 28, 2013 12:32:24 PM

  12. JasonRickRise, no matter how frequently you change your name, we can tell it's you... all your comments sound the same. You're like an autistic parrot.

    Posted by: ripper | Mar 28, 2013 12:50:08 PM

  13. The religious right's position on gays has been that they do not want the gay lifestyle to be shown or displayed in front of young kids, men or women because it makes it look normal, and acceptable, and it might have a influence on them, and this influence is bad because it is not an acceptable lifestyle.

    OK, so these covers appearing on news stands and at checkout lines, are actually showing us as normal and acceptable living people with the same passion for love (and sex) as everyone else.

    It's a hard kick in the balls to those that hate us, and to me, it feels so great. Love will win our over hatred.

    Posted by: Jeff | Mar 28, 2013 12:56:03 PM

  14. I'm sorry but this cover to me shows "same sex" not "same sex marriage."
    I agree with the other comments . What does making out have to do with the legalities of marriage?
    Answer: sex sells magazines.

    Posted by: Ny Larson | Mar 28, 2013 1:38:24 PM

  15. The only problem I have with it is the female version looks more titallating.

    Posted by: greenfuzz | Mar 28, 2013 4:10:13 PM

  16. I'm sorry, but if you look at these images and you see "sex" you need to see a therapist.

    You gots some serial issues, gurl.

    Posted by: ripper | Mar 28, 2013 4:31:51 PM

  17. What about relationships which are as old as these couples? My husband and I are getting close to our 25th anniversary and have lived as a couple thriough thick and thin. NIS investigations, hiv, jobs, cancer, family disapproval, etc have been part of our lives just like any heterosexual relationship. We have many friends who have been in relationships even longer than us. Now we are looking at long term relations of all of 5 years? That is no longer than the average college career. Why did time magazine not show couples in true long term relationships? Love evolves through life.

    Posted by: Steve | Mar 28, 2013 8:05:17 PM

  18. Get a grip, people. There are only two covers (and that's up 100% from the usual ONE). They cannot possibly show the be-all and end-all of all homo variety. And OMG, a kiss, why a kiss to represent marriage or evolving acceptance and embrace of teh gay? Jebebus Frell, what a bunch of mean craven harpies!

    Get the heck over it. This Is HUGE! It will be on Newstands All Week. The equal marriage issue has been on newscasts all over America. Revel in the limited attention when the evolution is highlighted for maximum feedback, and the small window when politicians are "falling over themselves" to declare for equal marriage.

    Oh, and read the article while you're at it. It's actually a rather dry but handy recitation of the history of the gay marriage movement - known all too well by me, but surely a new story to many. It's the cover story of TIME. It's big. This week is BIG. It's time to celebrate, not to winge. Smile. Be Happy. Yeah, the fight is far from over - but that the big story is America Has Never Evolved This Far This Fast - then it's time to raise a glass and be HAPPY.

    Posted by: Zlick | Mar 28, 2013 11:11:44 PM

  19. cool cover, the female version's type is off. the DY are getting lost on the forehead. If the photo was reduced around 15-30 percent it would be perfectly on the head. either way a classic times cover.

    Posted by: smark | Mar 29, 2013 12:31:20 AM

  20. That's right Zlick, we need to enjoy this 15 minutes of the limelight before it cools off until late June.

    I love these cover ramming it in everyone's faces across America. Just the fact that TIME did two different covers shows that the issue has now reached the masses ready or not. We're here!!! Get used to it!!!

    I feel really good about how it went in court this week, and then these covers are just a nice little icing on the cake. Then the big celebration late June is going to be BIT!

    Posted by: Jeff | Mar 29, 2013 3:08:55 AM

  21. Yeah. What's up with taking a pic of two dudes kissing "Hello," but then taking a pic of two women kissing "Let's scissor!"?!?!?

    In the words of the intrepid Scott Pilgrim, "DOUBLE STANDARD!!!!!!"

    Posted by: FFS | Mar 29, 2013 3:55:58 AM

  22. A kiss is just a kiss a sigh is just a sigh, the fundamental things apply as TIME goes Gay !!

    Posted by: Den | Mar 29, 2013 9:53:58 AM

  23. By representing a community that has been preaching "marriage is so much more than just sex" and "straight and same sex marriage is the same"... these pics aren't a very good representation. Would an article about a heterosexual marriage have a straight couple making out? Don't be silly. This fails.

    Posted by: kaccompany | Mar 29, 2013 12:27:33 PM

  24. kaccompany: Would an article about a heterosexual marriage have a straight couple making out? Don't be silly. This fails.

    - Lest you forget:

    Posted by: MM | Mar 30, 2013 12:24:26 AM

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