Justin BarthaRyan Murphy’s NBC comedy ‘The New Normal’, which centers on a gay couple who are expecting a child with the help of a surrogate, is a show that has had its share of controversy before it even premiered.  But for actor Justin Bartha who plays the gay character David, the experience has been rewarding both politically and personally.  As reported by the Associated Press on Monday, Bertha has become a gay rights activist through his character.

The series has not backed down from tackling some of today’s social issues that surround the gay community.  One of the earlier episodes gave a shout out to “One Million Moms”, an anti-gay organization that set out to boycott the show before it premiered and last week’s episode explored the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gays in which Bartha’s character took an interesting stance on the organization’s exclusion of gay members and Scout leaders.  For the season finale the show will feature “a nice, big gay wedding,” just in time to mirror the Supreme Court’s two landmark cases on same-sex marriage just last week.

Bartha says the timing is consistent with the show’s focus on tackling social issues.

“It’s coming on the heels of a very important decision.  It’s not often as an actor you get to be involved with a project that seems to be on the right side of history.”

The 34-year old actor never expected to be a gay rights activist when he signed on for the show, but has enjoyed his role model status and the positive feedback he has gotten from young people who look up to the characters of ‘The New Normal’.

“People really look up to these characters and they have taken them on as really positive role models, which is something that I never thought about when taking on the project.  You just want to do a good job, but it’s really quite a rewarding byproduct.”

Through humor the show has brought to the forefront social issues such as racism, homophobia and bullying but the undertones of the show highlight the seriousness of these issues and the importance of exposing audiences to these issues.  Bartha feels the show still has a lot to teach and hopes ‘The New Normal’ is brought back for another season.