There's little doubt that Neil Patrick Harris has achieved higher fame that even in the 1980s, when he won a Golden Globe for the 1988 film Clara's Heart, and then charmed as the eponymous child doctor on Doogie Howser, M.D.
Though some child actors fade into obscurity, Harris has successfully evolved into Hollywood royalty, as evidenced by his hosting the Emmy awards and opening the Oscars. He's understated, but still A-List, a huge step for a town that once kept its gay actors thoroughly closeted.
Now Harris has announced on Twitter that he and his partner David Burtka are expecting twins this fall. Let us rejoice! The throne has found an heir! And Harris, whether he likes it or not, has guaranteed his role as a warrior for gay families.
Harris himself knows people are curious about his private life. And, hoping to control the story, he broke the news himself yesterday on Twitter: "So get this: David and I are expecting twins this fall. We're super excited/nervous/thrilled." He concluded, "Hoping the press can respect our privacy...." That's not very likely.
To say that gay parentage and adoption remain hot political topics would be an understatement. It seems "family" has become even more controversial than ever before: the most notable example comes from down in Florida, where Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum has repeatedly said he doesn't believe gay people should adopt, and even went so far as to say LGBT folk aren't fit to foster children. I wonder what he'll have to say about unmarried Harris and Burtka raising not one, but two children.
Some social conservatives will decry Harris's decision, sure, but I'd bet dollars to donuts that the majority of Americans laud the gay couple's bundles of joy. There's nothing "queer" about Harris and Burtka's family. He's simply another American idol growing into adulthood, and expanding the definition of "family" in the process.
Harris could have made the big announcement on the cover of People, as he did when he came out of the closet. Instead he's taken a comparatively intimate route, a media he administers, Twitter, and that nonchalant nature of Harris' announcement, plus his popularity, will help cushion the impact and normalize the idea of gay men raising children. And there's no statuette coveted enough to reward Harris and Burtka's unintentionally progressive move.