Jesse Tyler Ferguson, a star of ABC’s “Modern Family,” joined Lt. Governor Sheila Simon this morning in Chicago to advocate for gay marriage in Illinois. Simon, Ferguson and other supporters are heading to Springfield Thursday for “Bow Tie Lobby Day,” where they’ll encourage legislatures to wear bow ties in support of the marriage equality bill that could come before the senate this week. Ferguson said his role as part of a gay couple on the popular television show has helped him use “wit and humor” to tackle a serious issue. The nation’s forward movement on marriage equality has been encouraging, he said, and he wants to continue the call to action in Illinois. His fiancé Justin Mikita accompanied him to the press event. “I’m looking forward to raising a family with Justin and having our kids grow up in an equal America. I had a hard time coming out and certainly had struggles with my parents. … If the 12-year-old me had been able to turn on the TV and see a sitting president say he supports marriage equality, it would have made all the difference for me and certainly given me a lot of hope,” Ferguson said. Modern Family’s popularity and presence in American homes has also helped the issue of marriage equality forward, Ferguson said.