In the time since Jesse Tyler Ferguson got married to lawyer Justin Mikita last summer, the Modern Family star has been constantly surprised by the things that make him feel like a husband.
‘It doesn’t make a difference on the day to day but it’s the little things like going into the doctor’s office and getting to check "married" in the box and all those little things I never thought about,’ he told Gay Star News in a recent interview.
Ferguson and Mitka had been together for two years before tying the knot in New York City last July.
‘My mom sent Justin a birthday card this year and it was a son-in-law card. My younger siblings aren’t married so she was so excited to buy a son-in-law card. So it’s those little things that make me feel like I’m part of an institution and that’s what really warms me.’
The four-time Emmy nominee is, of course, also part of a gay couple on television as well playing Mitchell Prichett on Modern Family.
Mitchell and husband Cam (Eric Stonestreet) are raising a daughter on a show that gives as much time to them as to the two heterosexual couples on the show and their children.
So is this enormously popular show helping to change hearts and minds?
‘I think there are a lot of people who are fans of Modern Family and maybe that’s their safe way in to accepting a gay couple,’ Ferguson says. ‘It’s so much humor and it’s so much heart and it’s in their living room every day.’
‘I think there are minds that are being changed,’ he adds. ‘I’m really hard on Middle America sometimes having grown up there (in Michigan) and I have to remind myself that I do live in the bubble of New York and Los Angeles right now. But there are progressive people in all 50 of our states and we have to really acknowledge that.’
‘No one person represents an entire state. Because (same-sex) marriage isn’t legal in every state that doesn’t it’s what the people of that state believe.’
Ferguson and Mitka are both politically active and on the front lines in the fight for marriage equality in the US.
When they announced their engagement in 2012, they used the occasion to launch Tie The Knot, a non-profit charity effort to raise funds to support the cause.
The actor remains positive even when there are legal setbacks and pushback from same-sex marriage opponents.
‘The thing with any civil rights movement is there are these bumps, these hiccups and when there’s so much charged energy behind it is really difficult to have those bumps. But that’s part of the burden of having a great civil rights movement.’