'Modern Family' to be honored by Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
Modern Family, which stars Sofia Vergara and Ed O'Neill and depicts a gay couple who are parents to a baby girl, will be honored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), at the Respect Awards on October 8 in Beverly Hills.
"As a lesbian mother of two, I am grateful to see a show like Modern Family, which offers an honest and often hilarious look at family experiences often overlooked or ignored in primetime," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said in a statement about the ABC series, which is nominated for 14 Emmys this year.
"From its positive portrayal of gay parents to its handling of school bullying, Modern Family provides an invaluable window into what family life is like for millions of American Youth," she said.
On the mockumentary-style show, Jesse Tyler Ferguson's character, Mitchell, and Eric Stonestreet's, Cameron, adopt a Vietnamese baby girl, Lily. However, the characters have not yet been seen kissing. More than 13,000 people are members of a Facebook campaign group called "Let Cam & Mitchell kiss on Modern Family."
"I think it's amazing that the fans care so much about the characters that they want that to happen," Stonestreet, who is straight, had told ABC News in May. "But I think they have to trust that we're a forward-thinking show on a forward-thinking network and we're going to give them everything they want."
The annual Respect Awards recognize those who have "helped propel GLSEN's efforts to ensure safe schools for all of America's students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression."
Modern Family was also nominated for a GLAAD award earlier this year for "Best Comedy Series".
GLSEN has in the past honored the Disney/ABC Television Group as a whole as well as individuals affiliated with ABC, such as Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and Greg Berlanti, executive producer of the show Brothers & Sisters, for their inclusion of gay actors and the way they have depicted gay characters in their programs.
"So many traditional parents have come up to me and said, 'My husband is totally Cameron.' They're relating to it," Ferguson, who is gay, told USA Today in March, adding that seeing the gay couple on Modern Family might help people be more comfortable with the idea of gay marriage, which is controversial to many.
"It's a safe 'in' for a lot of people who are on the fence about the issue," he said. "They feel OK liking our couple. Maybe that will bleed into their personal life. Maybe it's not such a big deal if two men raise a baby."