As more and more celebrities feel comfortable coming out of the closet, people the world over who are struggling with their sexuality are being inspired to accept themselves and do the same. The progress towards sexual equality has been a long and arduous journey, given that many religious and conservative institutions have dedicated an enormous amount of time and energy to combat the legalization of gay marriage. However, with happy, successful gay celebrity couples being open about their own relationships and families, even the prejudiced public minority is beginning to see that a functional, thriving family dynamic is possible among all consenting adult couples - regardless of their sexual preferences.
Hollywood has embraced gay relationships, while the mainstream media points to famous gay couples as icons of progress in the battle for marriage equality. The following are ten of the most famous celebrity gay couples who have helped open up the discussion about gay marriage in a positive way. These celebrities are particularly powerful and relevant due to their work in current movies, social media presence, and work in television.
10 Elton John & David Furnish
In December of 2014, Elton John made mainstream headlines after the pop star tied the knot with his longtime partner, David Furnish. They invited the world to celebrate their special day on December 21st - via Instagram, of course.
The couple had been together since 1993, with John proposing to Furnish in 2005. On December 21, 2005, they entered into a civil partnership, and they chose that same date as their wedding day nine years later.
The couple are parents to two children, born in 2010 and 2013 respectively from the same surrogate mother. Furnish is a well known Canadian film maker, and was named by GQ as one of Britain's best dressed men.
9 Cynthia Nixon & Christine Marinoni
"Sex & the City" actress Cynthia Nixon started dating Christine Marinoni in 2004. In 2009, the couple became engaged, and were married on May 27, 2012 in New York City. Nixon was previously with a man, and gave birth to two children from the relationship. In 2011, Marinoni gave birth to a son as well. Nixon considers herself to be a bisexual and simply a "woman who's in love with another woman."
Marinoni has stayed by Nixon's side even after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The couple currently enjoys life as a little family, raising children, and living life just like any happy long-term couple.
8 Sara Gilbert & Linda Perry
Sara Gilbert and her wife, 4 Non Blondes frontwoman Linda Perry, just recently became parents after Gilbert gave birth to a healthy baby boy in February 2015. The "Roseanne" and "Big Bang Theory" actress officially came out of the closet in 2010, but she has known that she is a lesbian since she was a teenager while dating her Roseanne costar, Johnny Galecki. Despite the relationship ending, the two remain close friends.
Gilbert became engaged to Linda Perry in 2013 and they were married on March 30, 2014. Gilbert and Perry are currently one of the hottest gay couples in Hollywood.
7 Jim Parsons & Todd Spiewak
Jim Parsons is best known as a major star in the hit series, "Big Bang Theory" playing Sheldon Cooper. Parsons is still fairly new to the Hollywood scene, but has been with his partner Todd Spiewak for over ten years. Their first public appearance together was in 2013 when the couple received an Inspiration Award at the 9th Annual GLSEN Respect Awards. They also started their own production company together called That’s Wonderful Productions, LLC.
Today, Parsons and Spiewak are still very much in love and still going strong. Parsons is content having a "boring" life and a simple love with his partner.
6 Anderson Cooper & Ben Maisani
In 2012, Anderson Cooper ended all rumors and speculation by officially coming out of the closet. Most people were not shocked or surprised at all, and in fact applauded Cooper for being honest not only with himself, but also the rest of the world.
Soon after he was out, millions worldwide wondered if the CNN anchor had a love interest. In 2009, Cooper met French man Ben Maisani, and the couple has been together ever since. Unlike Cooper, Maisani - who owns a slew of bars and nightclubs - prefers to live a quiet life out of the limelight and very much treasures his privacy.
5 Lance Bass & Michael Turchin
NSync star Lance Bass was known as a teen heartthrob in the late 90s and early 2000s. Girls would swoon over the boyband protege, unaware that he wasn't remotely interested in them. When Bass officially came out of the closet in 2006, people wondered if he was in a relationship.
Bass and Michael Turchin began dating in 2011 and became engaged in 2013. On December 20, 2014, the couple made history as the first gay couple to exchange their vows on network television on the special, "Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding." The show aired on February 5, 2015 on E!
4 Jesse Tyler Ferguson & Justin Mikita
Jesse Tyler Ferguson plays a gay man on one of the biggest television series to date, and has a lot in common with the character he plays. Even though Justin Mikita is over ten years his junior, the pair started dating in 2010. The "Modern Family" star popped the question to Mikita in 2012, and a year later, the couple were married in New York.
The guest list was full of star-studded celebrities such as Rebecca Romijn and Zachary Quinto. But Mikita doesn't just live as a house husband; he works as a lawyer.
3 Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka met in 2004 and started dating that same year. At the time, NPH wasn't officially out of the closet. It wasn't until Burtka made an appearance on "How I Met Your Mother", and accusations arose that he earned the role only because he was dating one of the stars, that speculation began. This forced NPH to officially come out of the closet in 2006, in People Magazine.
The couple became parents to fraternal twins named Gideon Scott and Harper in October of 2010, and they married in Italy in September 2014. The two are well known for posting adorable family themed Halloween photos each year.
2 Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi
Ellen DeGeneres is one of the most famous daytime television hosts in history, and her sexuality has been no secret for quite sometime. In 2004, she met Portia de Rossi, who had recently ended a long term relationship with another woman. In 2005, the couple made their first public appearance at the Emmy Awards.
In 2006, the two lovebirds gained media attention after outing themselves as an official couple. Ellen proposed to Portia with a diamond ring in 2008, and once the gay marriage ban was lifted a few months later, the couple married at their home in front of their 19 closest friends.
1 George Takei & Brad Altman
In the 1980's, George Takei was best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in "Star Trek". After Star Trek went off the air, George was still a working actor, and joined a gay running club. He noticed a man named Brad Altman, who was the best runner in the group, and George asked Brad to train him.
Not too long after, the running pair became partners, keeping their relationship a secret for 18 years before George came out of the closet in 2005. Three years later, George and Brad got married. Today, the couple are icons of the marriage equality campaign as well as maintaining one of the most significant social media presences in modern history.