Network television had its share of watershed gay-rights moments over the last several decades — “Roseanne,” “Ellen,” “Will and Grace.” All of these sought to integrate gay relationships into mainstream sitcoms, albeit in a soft-pedal, occasionally cartoonish way. On the cable side, meanwhile, shows such as “Queer as Folk” and “Six Feet Under” were picking up where those series left off.
Mainstream film hasn’t necessarily been more vocal than mainstream sitcoms; in fact, in some ways, it’s been more gun shy. But the American art-house, like pay cable — in some ways even more than pay cable — has been willing to tackle these issues head-on.
“The Hours” had several gay characters. “Kissing Jessica Stein” played with sexual identity for laughs, basically TV's normalization through comedy. And “Brokeback Mountain” merged a gay love story with a Western, that most iconic and mainstream of American storytelling forms.
But perhaps the greatest film triumph for the gay-rights movement came just a few years ago in “The Kids Are all Right,” a hit film that showed a lesbian couple raising two teenagers. It was a big deal precisely because it wasn’t a big deal. (Incidentally, it should not go unnoticed that many of these movies — including “Brokeback,” “Milk” and “Kids” — were released by Focus Features, which has led the way among studio-owned divisions in foregrounding gay themes.)
The Supreme Court's ruling Wednesday that struck down a key part of the
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