Glee and Modern Family tied in the GLAAD Media Award for best TV comedy series on Sunday.

The two Emmy-award winning shows feature gay characters and themes that have helped build acceptance of the LGBT community, the gay rights group said.

Glee guest star Kristin Chenoweth was given the Vanguard Award for increasing visibility and understanding of the LGBT community for her defence of gay Broadway co-star, Sean Hayes, against comments in Newsweek arguing that openly gay actors are unconvincing in straight roles. Hayes presented Chenoweth with the award.

Dolly Parton presented gay TV producer Robert Greenblatt with the Stephen F Kolzak award for being an openly gay professional who has “made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community”.

She said: “I am so proud of Bob because he’s always used his position in the entertainment business to push back the barriers that work against dignity of gay men and women.”

Project Runway won the reality TV award after a contestant publicly revealed he was HIV positive.

I Love You, Phillip Morris, starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, was named outstanding film on limited release.

The awards ceremony took place at a gala dinner in Los Angeles hosted by Parks and Recreation actors Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones.