Two African-American women made an appearance on Essence.com this past week—but not for their smart street fashion or financial tips.

On October 13th, Aisha Mills and Danielle Moodie, one of D.C’s first same sex couples to be legally wed, appeared on Essence.com Bridal Bliss section, a weekly feature that profiles newly wedded couples. The story focused on their personal connection: how they fell in love at first sight and their quirky sushi proposal. In comparison to recent wedding features, the response to the same sex couple went viral.

According to Web Editor, Emil Wilbekin, in an interview with NPR, the story received over 5,000 Facebook likes and comments that varied from congratulatory support for the new couple and disparaging rants against homosexuality.

“You’re going to have conservative right wing audience that is quoting from the bible and think it’s an abomination. We expected that,” he told NPR. “But what was more interesting were the people who were not exposed to this and actually took a stance against the people who were making the negative comments.”

The couple’s identity as lesbians was not brandished boldly in the headline, nor was it streamlined in a caption on the site. Beyond a photo of two beautiful African-American women beaming in white dresses, and the description of their legal complications to reach their current blissful state, their feature on the site read like any other love story.

Wilbekin said that his decision to post the couple on the site was not just in order to raise attention or awareness, but to display the couple as he would any other: a normal wedding.

“I thought, instead of just covering it as a straight news story, why don’t we normalize it and cover the wedding as an amazing same-sex black lesbian wedding?” he told NPR. His bold decision received an “an overwhelmingly positive response.”

The decision by Essence to showcase the married women not only speaks to their celebration of Black love, but also to their recognizance of the nation’s increasing awareness and acceptance of differences. Our definition of diversity expands day by day, and our ability to support the inclusion of these women in a blog post speaks volumes to the rights and atmosphere that the LGBTQ community fights for each day.

Do you agree? Does the attempt to normalize LGBTQ love show a progression in our society?

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