ACLU Action, a new initiative of the American Civil Liberties Union, has launched a campaign pressuring ABC and the producers of the sitcom "Modern Family" to make a gay-wedding episode for the characters Cam and Mitchell. They created a website at ModernFamilyWedding.com.
"The freedom to marry is being advanced in American living rooms as much as in court rooms," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "As we wait for the Supreme Court to rule, we want to keep this issue on the minds and screens of Americans everywhere."
The group is currently litigating against the Defense of Marriage Act and plans to "activate the ACLU's 750,000 online supporters to have a political impact through social media and new grassroots organizing tools, and to reach out to new audiences, with its message of equal rights for all." On Facebook, they demand "the biggest gay wedding ever."
"The ACLU has been working since 1936 to guarantee the rights of lesbian and gay people, and we see sending Cam and Mitch down the aisle before 13 million American viewers as the perfect next step," added Romero.
Surprisingly, syndicated TV critic Kevin McDonough hates this idea of campaigning to write a script for fictional characters and compared it to Dan Quayle’s “chilling” criticism of “Murphy Brown” for encouraging single motherhood in 1992:
We can kid about the seriousness of the ACLU's campaign, but there is something odious about powerful legal organizations bringing pressures on writers and performers to conform to a prevailing political norm.
Gay Marriage is obviously a serious issue. Millions believe that it concerns issues of basic fairness. Justice. Decency. They believe its time has come and that time is now.
But that doesn't mean that they get to climb inside the head of writers and force them what to write, or how to write, or dictate how characters should act.
Who's to say that Mitch or Cam even want to get married? That's for the writers of "Modern Family" to determine. Nobody else.
Folks at the ACLU should remember the gales of ridicule that met Vice President Dan Quayle when he criticized a plot point on "Murphy Brown." Catering to his party's socially conservative wing, he chastised the sitcom for what he believed was its championship of out-of-wedlock motherhood.
He was talking about a serious issue. But singling out the decisions of a sitcom character made the conversation seem slightly absurd. Some also felt that it was more than chilling for the Vice President to be telling television writers what to write.
If it was silly and slightly creepy for Dan Quayle to do it in 1992, it's equally wrong for the ACLU to put pressure on "Modern Family" in 2013.
McDonough is a liberal who hates "The O'Reilly Factor." He’s also suggested that “fanatical supporters”of the late Chilean right-wing autocrat Augusto Pinochet wouldn’t be out of place “on American talk radio."