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Taking Uncivil Liberties With Modern Family

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It seems the ACLU wants to get into the sitcom writing game.

My first reaction to the press release titled, "ACLU Action Launches Campaign to Get Cam and Mitch Hitched on 'Modern Family'" was: "Don't you have better things to do?"

Now I take the ACLU seriously. They have been involved in serious, seminal cases, from the Scopes Monkey trial in 1925 to Brown v. Board of Education and beyond. I sincerely hope that they take their work, and their image, as seriously as I do.

Which brings us back to "Modern Family." It's a sitcom. It's fiction. Its characters and situations are what we technically call, "Make Believe." Mitch and Cam are portrayed by what are widely known as "actors."

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. Besides, the writers of that series have enough problems. (Have you seen ABC's Fall Schedule)?