“Modern Family” Star Pushes For Marriage Equality

Jessie Tyler Ferguson joins forces with Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon to support gay marriage in Illinois

Illinois' marriage equality advocates received some high-profile support Wednesday.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who stars in the sitcom "Modern Family," appeared at a news conference with Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon to voice support for gay marriage in Illinois.

"Treating any American as a second-class citizen is just not OK," Ferguson said.

The General Assembly is considering marriage equality legislation during the January session that would make Illinois the 10th state to allow gay marriage.

Ferguson attended the news conference with his fiance, who he plans on marrying this year.

"To look at marriage equality this way, to not accept everyone is an extremely bigoted opinion," Ferguson said.

Supporters are expected to converge on Springfield Thursday for a Bow Tie Lobby Day, related to Ferguson's organization called "Tie The Knot," which sells bow ties and gives the profits to marriage equality organizations.

Ferguson is in a same-sex marriage on the show with an adopted child, a positive portrayal he believes is helping to change minds on the issue.

"I think there's a lot of people who aren't comfortable with marriage equality, so they get to turn on the TV and see a show that has a lot of different families in it, and one of those families just happens to be gay, and they're realizing that they're having a great time watching the show and watching a gay couple that's having a lot of the same problems and issues that they have and they realize they're not so different than me," Ferguson said.

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