Gay Marriage and the “Modern Family”

Forget about Chelsea – will Cam and Mitchell tie the knot?

Forget about Chelsea – we're thrilled by just the possibility of a "Modern Family" wedding.

We haven't even seen them kiss yet, but the actor who plays one half of the same-sex couple on the ABC breakout sitcom wants the characters to get married.

“There is no doubt that is going to happen,” Eric Stonestreet, who plays Cam, told the New York Post. The show’s co-producer, Christopher Lloyd, was less definitive, telling the paper he wouldn’t “rule out” the nuptials.

Meanwhile, a top CBS executive announced that homosexual characters will be part of three shows in the new season: "The Good Wife," “Rules of Engagement” and "$#*! My Dad Says," which already has the Parents Television Council in boycott mode over the show’s partially censored title.

“We’re not happy with ourselves,” Nina Tassler, CBS entertainment president, told reporters last week, referring to the scarcity of gay and lesbian characters on the network’s shows.

Her comments – more of an admission, really – appears to be a response to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which issued a report last month in which it contended CBS trailed the other networks in featuring gay-themed content.

GLAAD has praised “Modern Family” in a season that also brought us a sensitive portrayal of the gay teen Kurt on another new show, “Glee.” But more than three decades after the introduction of TV’s first regularly featured openly gay character – Billy Crystal’s Jodie from the ABC sitcom “Soap” – there are still some who rail against any depiction of homosexual life on the tube.

Gary McCullough, of the Christian Newswire, who had predicted that Ellen DeGeneres would destroy “America Idol” because she’s a “lesbian activist,” did some ugly crowing after she quit last week.

“Ellen DeGeneres skied over that bull-shark and the audience she drove away will never return,” he wrote, ignoring, among other things, decency and the reality that DeGeneres is one of TV’s most popular figures.

Lloyd told the Post that “Modern Family” tries to avoid the “overtly political.” But it’s hard to skirt scrutiny when your show features TV’s most prominent gay couple. 

The show already has been the subject of a Facebook campaign calling for Cam and Mitchell to kiss on camera – though the producers promise the smooch is coming soon. (We just figured that uptight lawyer Mitchell is just too tightly wound for a PDA in front of the reality TV cameras that frame the action.)

A Cam-Mitchell wedding couldn’t but help touch on the hot-button same-sex marriage issue, especially since the show takes place in California, home of Proposition 8. But "Modern Family,” as it proved in Season One, is creative when it comes to weddings: we saw Phil and Claire’s impromptu renewal of their vows in Hawaii as well as Cam throw together a wedding in his living room for his gardener.

The  episodes were typical of the always funny, often touching show that deftly mixes the silly and sweet. The eccentric couples who comprise the extended, blended family have little in common on the surface, but are tied by bonds of devoted parenthood and love – old-fashioned concepts wrapped in a modern, comic cloak.

Let’s hope for a two-for-one deal next season: Cam and Mitchell’s wedding, sealed with a kiss.

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.

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