US: ACLU pushes ‘Modern Family’ TV show creators to allow gay characters to get married

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The American Civil Liberties Union has begun pushing the producers of US television show Modern Family, to write an episode in which the gay couple featured on it, get married.

The campaign was started by ACLU Action, urging the show to write a wedding episode for two of the main characters, Mitchell and Cameron, a gay couple, and fathers of an adopted child.

The campaign asks supporters to sign a petition, in the form of RSVPing to the couple’s wedding online. The guest list will be drawn from that, and presented to producers of the show.

James Esseks, director of the LGBT Project at the ACLU, told the Associated Press: “Mitch and Cam are a couple that America has come to know and love, and seeing them get married, and seeing the characters in the story grapple with their desire to get married, makes it real for a bigger part of America.”

The ACLU goes on to assert that the couple should be used to draw attention to the issue of equal marriage in the US, as advocate of equal marriage await a decision by the Supreme Court on two related cases.

“It’s a popular show, they’re a lovable, very real couple, and it would be great to see them walk down the aisle,” Esseks said.

He went on to applaude what the show had already done to help towards changing public perception of gay couples in the US, saying that was part of the ACLU’s mission statement.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays Mitchell, tweeted to thank the ACLU for its campaign.

Earlier this week, US television network NBC announced that its new sitcom The New Normal, which features a gay couple and the surrogate mother of their child, has been cancelled after just one season, amidst falling ratings.

Last month a poll found that in the US, more people say their perception of gay people has been positively influenced by television’s portrayal of them, than say it has had a negative impact.

Back in August, the sixth annual Network Responsibility Index was published by GLAAD, and included details of networks and shows which had accurately reflected, or not, the LGBT community through their broadcasting.

The US Supreme Court Justices in March indicated a possible interest in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), as it heard arguments around the issue.

This was the second day of hearings, one day prior, the court heard arguments around Proposition 8, the state of California’s ban on equal marriage. Then the justices questioned the meaning of marriage, and challenged arguments for the ban. 

A decision by the Supreme Court in both cases is expected by the end of June.