***Article contains some minor plot spoilers about Brothers & Sisters***
To the list of recently out actors and singers including Neil Patrick Harris, T.R. Knight and Lance Bass, add the name of Canadian actor Luke MacFarlane, better known to gay fans as the man who plays Scotty Wandell on the ABC drama Brothers & Sisters. After several years of speculation about MacFarlane’s sexuality, the actor confirmed he is in fact gay in an interview with the Canadian paper Globe and Mail.
"I don’t know what will happen professionally," MacFarlane said. "That is the fear, but I guess I can’t really be concerned about what will happen, because it’s my truth. … There is this desire in L.A. to wonder who you are and what’s been blaring for me for the last three years is how can I be most authentic to myself – so this is the first time I am speaking about it in this way."
The 28-year-old native of London, Ontario, appears to have decided to make the announcement he is in gay in part due to an upcoming storyline on Brothers & Sisters that involves his character being “married” to Kevin Walker (Matthew Rhys), his boyfriend on the show.
"From a standing outside perspective, and also as someone who is gay, I think that it’s a very exciting time," MacFarlane said. "How exciting that we’re saying, ’This can be part of the cultural fabric, now,’ because it is two series regulars, two people that you invite into your home and you see every week. It’s telling of the beginning of more waves and I’m very proud of that."
Fans of the show will also be excited to note that MacFarlane has been made a series regular on the ABC drama, meaning the character will be staying on the show for quite some time and should be getting more screen time. Scotty’s relationship with Kevin has already generated enormous fan interest and broken new ground due to the show’s frank (for U.S. network television) handling of Kevin and Scotty’s love-life, including numerous kisses, something still of a rarity for American audiences.
Kevin and Scotty won’t legally be married as California, where the show is set, doesn’t
currently allow same-sex marriage; rather they’ll have a civil union. Still, MacFarlane’s coming out may heighten interest in what was already something of a history-making moment of television: two gay series regulars getting married on network TV drama.
"Most importantly, in portraying gay people, the more we realize it’s just like portraying anybody else and, gay marriage, it’s not about two people being gay, it’s about two people who love each other and who have decided to commit to each other for the exact same reasons any other couple would get married," MacFarlane said to the Globe and Mail.
MacFarlane’s coming out marks the first time an out actor on network television has played such a prominent gay role. Neil Patrick Harris and T. R. Knight, two of television’s other out gay actors, both play heterosexuals. Bryan Batt’s gay character on Mad Men and Mario Cantone’s on Men in Trees are very small parts.
When asked by the Globe and Mail about whether or not he was currently dating anyone, MacFarlane declined to answer. However, he did add that like his character Scotty, MacFarlane would like to get married one day.
After high school, MacFarlane attended Juilliard, then went on to roles in the miniseries Tanner on Tanner and then the film Kinsey. Before landing the part of Scotty on Brothers & Sisters, MacFarlane played Pvt. Frank ’Dim’ Dumphy, on FX’s short-lived war drama Over There. He also had a part in the Fox failed pilot Supreme Courtships as Allen, one of six Supreme Court clerks.
MacFarlane recently filmed a television movie for the Canadian Broadcast Company called Iron Road. In the historical drama, MacFarlane plays James Nichol’s, the son of a wealthy railroad tycoon. The actor’s character meets and falls in love with a young Chinese woman thereby making him the movie’s romantic lead.
In short, the ranks of out actors in the prime of their careers has added another new and noteworthy name.