I've watched many of the popular shows that were mentioned in this article, so I'm more than aware of the impact they've made in our society. However, I was not aware of the reasons for the political motives and economic incentives behind the gay-themed TV shows until I read Becker's article.
The Becker article explains that the "SLUMPY class" consists of, "Socially liberal, Urban-minded professionals". What Becker means by this is that people who accept gay and other "edgy" social groups do so to help justify the evolution of their young adult liberal perspectives in to the quest for economic comfort in their middle-age.
Recognition of these social groups by the networks and the advertisers has also tapped into a large demographic of people with disposable incomes that want to support advertisers that support their causes. As these businesses are more successful, networks can charge more in advertising fees. This has been proven to be a win-win situation. Fiscal conservatives can still be seen to have a liberal edge, networks bring in more advertising dollars, businesses that advertise during these shows gain more supporters and social groups on the fringes of society gain more acceptance through the repetitive use of plotlines involving these groups.