A producer of ABC’s hit television show Modern Family has said the season premier this week featuring a same-sex marriage proposal was not meant as a political statement.
Creators of the Emmy award-winning ABC show had previously been reluctant to explore the issue of equal marriage in the US, but that changed when Mitchell and Cameron, a gay couple with an adopted daughter, got engaged during Wednesday’s fifth season premier.
Jeffrey Richman, one of two openly gay producers on the show said to the Hollywood Reporter: “It’s not a political show, and we bent over backwards in the episode not to be political,
“We all said this would not be about making a statement; it was very much about keeping it between these two people and what it means for them.”
He did say that the Supreme Court’s ruling in two key equal marriage cases, including the now defunct California’s Proposition 8, and the Defense of Marriage Act, were on the minds of the writers who planned the autumn season, beginning back in May.
“When it actually looked like [same-sex marriage] might become legal, it seemed like we could really make something of that,” Richman said. “Then it sort of gathered momentum because it wouldn’t just be a one-off story. It would give us episodes leading up to a wedding, and we’re so hungry for stories.
“You could see a bachelor party, you could see a party planner, you could see so many things.”
“As I started writing, I became unexpectedly emotional,” he continued. “I teared up writing it. I teared up hearing it read. And I completely teared up seeing that moment where they both just say “yes” at the exact same time. That was so moving for me. I felt like, ‘OK, maybe I got it right because I never cry at weddings.’”
A campaign was started by ACLU Action in May, ahead of the Supreme Court decision on two equal marriage cases, 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.
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.”