Tonight's episode of NBC's GLAAD Media Award-nominated comedy The New Normal saw former Eagle Scout David (Justin Bartha) and his fiancée Bryan (Andrew Rannells) taking on the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) ban on gay scouts and scout leaders.
GLAAD first launched a campaign to call for the BSA to adopt a national non-discrimination policy after Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell was ousted as her son's den leader in April 2012. She told GLAAD tonight that the episode was "heart wrenching and all too familiar! They did a great job capturing the feeling!"
This afternoon actor Justin Bartha participated in an "Ask Me Anything" forum with Redditt where he answered a question from GLAAD about the BSA anti-gay ban.
GLAAD: Tonight's episode of The New Normal takes on the Boy Scout's ban on gay members. As a straight man playing a gay character, what are your thoughts on the policy and what do you hope viewers will learn?
Bartha: As a human playing a human, my thoughts are that all humans are equal. I don't hope viewers learn anything. I hope they are entertained and possibly start a conversation afterwards to learn from people around them.
He went on to affirm his belief that every human should be treated equally - gay or straight - when asked his thoughts about LGBT rights and portraying a gay character.
"Playing a gay man feels the same as playing every other role. David isn't defined by his sexuality, he is defined by his morality," Bartha wrote. "[…My favorite part of working on The New Normal] is working every day for something I believe in. […] We should all be born equal."
"I was not [a Boy Scout], but my gay brother was a Boy Scout.," he told ETOnline. "I have a lot of respect and admiration for what The Boy Scouts do and teach. And not to get too preachy, but I think their base value system, in what they teach, would benefit every child. What's confusing is that their core teaching is to accept everyone's values and views, which is obviously coming into conflict with their attitude towards gays."
In the episode "About a Boy Scout," David volunteers to help out his friend and chaperone a Scouts overnight camping trip, despite Bryan's concerns over the BSA's anti-gay ban. Shortly after introducing Bryan to the troop and the three adult Scout Masters, who all seemed to love David and respect his skills, David receives a letter from the national board stating that his membership has been revoked for "homosexual conduct." When he announces that he must leave the troop he tells the upset children, "When the Scouts can live up to the values they taught me, I'm happy to be of service. […] I do [love the Scouts], but they don't respect the way that I love."
He goes on to say that "change is coming" to the Boy Scouts and there is no doubt "the world is changing."
Tune in Tuesdays on NBC to check out The New Normal!
Take action at www.glaad.org/scouts.