Over the weekend, NEIL PATRICK HARRIS and his partner of six years, actor DAVID BURTKA, announced that they will welcome twins into their family this fall.

“So, get this: David and I are expecting twins this fall. We’re super excited/nervous/thrilled. Hoping the press can respect our privacy…” NPH tweeted shortly after E! Online broke the news.

When the twins arrive, NEIL and DAVID will become the highest profile gay parents in the country.

For the gay community, this is a very good thing. NEIL has defied the odds since coming out of the closet; his career has never been better and by all accounts he is arguably among the more universally adored actors working today.

People love NPH.

He and DAVID exude a normalcy uncommon in media representations of gay men and with their committed relationship and career successes, they continue to tear down the stereotypes that haunt the gay community and keep GLBT persons from enjoying the same rights and freedoms as their straight allies.

“For over two decades, Americans have followed Neil Patrick Harris’ journey from child star to popular leading man. Now, many will look on as he and his partner build a family together,” Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Of Defamation (GLAAD) told PopEater.

“As more and more loving and committed gay and lesbian couples start families together, it is important to see stories like Neil’s that reflect what most fair minded Americans all ready know: gay people and our families are no different than them. For many, Neil is the first gay person they’ve seen come out, fall in love and become a dad and his story is helping Americans understand that gay people deserve the same opportunity to take care of our families and loved ones.”

NEIL has said often that he strives to be an example of normalcy; that while he may not be out marching in gay pride parades or participating in political rallies, he hopes that by living his life openly he can be an advocate by example.

“I love Neil Patrick Harris and think the confidence with which he conducts himself has challenged prejudices and helped pave the way for other gay entertainers, including Jesse Tyler Fergusson and Cheyenne Jackson,” commented Aaron Hicklin, editor in chief of OUT magazine.

He is aware of his celebrity and its impact – and rather than make his sexuality central to his public persona, NEIL has keenly made it just another part of who he is.

He isn’t NEIL PATRICK HARRIS: Gay Actor. He’s NEIL PATRICK HARRIS: An actor who happens to be gay among many other things.

There is a vast difference between the two, and in so doing, NEIL has made being gay palatable to people who might otherwise see it as something so foreign it should be feared.

“I found a guy that I’m head over heels for and we have similar interests and we spend our time together,” the actor told OUT magazine in 2008.

“I’m a big proponent of monogamous relationships regardless of sexuality and I’m proud of how the nation is steering toward that. Then you can look around and say, ‘I really deeply feel like I’m in love with this person, there are people who feel the same thing and those models are normal.‘”

Finding someone to love, a soul mate to spend the rest of your life with and wanting to start a family with that person is something everyone can relate to.

According to the Pew Research Center, simply knowing a gay person makes an individual more than twice as likely to support gay rights causes. After decades in the spotlight, we all know and love NPH.

Now, as he embarks on this latest journey in his private life, we’re about to be introduced to yet another side of him.

And at this time, with battles over gay marriage and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell raging, GLBT advocates couldn’t ask for a better person to come forward as the face of the modern American gay family.

Because if NPH the father is even half as awesome as NPH the person, those will be two of the luckiest children in the world.

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