'Modern Family' Actor Credits Show for Softening Conservative Sentiments to Gay Marriage

The actor who plays Modern Family's Phil Dunphy recently credited the Emmy award winning television show with softening the hearts of conservatives toward gay marriage.

Ty Burrell told U.K. newspaper The Telegraph that he was heartened by how Modern Family, which features a same-sex couple with an adopted daughter, had found such a following among conservatives.

(Photo: Reuters)(L-R) The cast of "Modern Family" Sarah Hyland, Nolan Gould, Ed O'Neill, Ariel Winter, Sofia Vergara, Rico Rodriguez, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet pose backstage after the show won for best comedy series at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 18, 2011.

"This is probably a little overwrought, but I do actually think the writers are making the world a better place," Burrell said. "It's one of my favorite things about the show. I love it when I talk to conservatives and they're describing all three couples, and they never mention that one of them is gay. That's the brilliance of the writing. In a completely unaggressive, apolitical way, they are showing this couple as completely normal dealing with ordinary stuff. The banality of it is the most revolutionary thing."

In a 2010 Hollywood Reporter survey, Modern Family was ranked third, behind Glenn Beck and The Amazing Race, as Republicans' favorite show. It was not listed on the top 15 Democrat shows.

Burrell, who is married and the father of two adopted children, said that while the show may have no current political impact, he believes it is slowly changing stereotypes about the LGBT community.

"I think if you turned around and asked that same conservative person how they felt about gay marriage, that probably hasn't changed for them, but the seed has been planted none the less. It's progress and it's the coolest thing," he continued.

The actor, who currently stars in the Muppets Most Wanted , also added that he believes that television content has become more "permissive" in recent years — a shift he credits with helping make his show more realistic.

"I don't even think we're a particularly edgy show, but I'm amazed sometimes, in a good way, at what we're allowed to express. The kids are coming of age on the show, so we're addressing puberty, masturbation, drinking, the first time a young woman has sex. These are the kinds of things parents are dealing with all the time, and I know the fans appreciate it, because people talk about it," he added.

Modern Family is currently in its fifth season and averages 12 million viewers an episode. Beyond its many viewers, the show also has won 18 Emmys and has been named Outstanding Comedy series four years in a row.