Portia de Rossi on her new sitcom, marriage to Ellen and (gasp) a baby bump?

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As half of the most famous gay couple in the country, Portia de Rossi is still working to decipher the mixed messages American culture is sending her way right now.

On the one hand, the actress’ marriage to talk-show queen Ellen DeGeneres has won enough popular acceptance that tabloids speculate about whether De Rossi will soon bear the couple’s first child through in vitro fertilization. The rumors -- which she repeatedly has denied -- provoked good-natured exasperation from De Rossi during a recent visit to the downtown Los Angeles set of her new ABC comedy ‘Better Off Ted,’ which premieres Wednesday. Nonetheless, she’s pleased that questions about her family planning merit the same sort of extravagant attention straight celebrities deal with every day.

But De Rossi, born 36 years ago in Australia as Amanda Rogers (she chose her stage name -- Portia is the heiress who begs Shylock for mercy in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ -- as a teenager), also can’t ignore that she lives in a state where last summer’s wedding would not be legal today. The morning of Nov. 5, she awoke to learn that voters had narrowly approved Proposition 8, which eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in California. The measure is under review by the California Supreme Court, which is not expected to reverse it.

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