Will and Grace and Rick Santorum

0

Will & Grace, a show about a gay man living with his straight female best friend, aired its last episode in 2006, but is still brought up frequently in conversations over LGBT issues—and Rick Santorum thinks it’s responsible for people wanting marriage equality.

During last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Santorum declared that while the sexual revolution changed things in the 1960s, the state of marriage stayed the same for thirty years after that. Gay marriage wasn’t something anyone had considered, he claimed, until the 1990s.

“One program on television started to change things,” said Santorum, “and that is Will & Grace.”

The sitcom first aired in 1998, and while it wasn’t the first mainstream American show with openly gay characters, it was one of the first to have LGBT people as part of the principal cast. And it was an award-winning success.

Unlike one of its predecessors, Ellen, the titular Will was long out of the closet and quietly comfortable with who he was, something audiences were also more comfortable with.

It is widely acknowledged that media portrayals influence the general public’s perceptions, and last year Joe Biden also referenced Will & Grace, when he publicly announced his support of marriage equality. In contrast to Santorum, he credited the show with simply helping to “normalize” the LGBT community in the mainstream community’s eyes.

“People fear that which is different,” Biden said. “Now they’re beginning to understand.”

429Magazine

About The Author

Just another multi-disciplinary writer and bundle of contradictions trying to figure out how to get the most out of life, and make a living while I'm at it.

Send this to friend