(Let's not pretend that Battlestar Galactica just didn't have time to mention its characters' sexuality. They had time for an entire episode about boxing, for pity's sake!)
Battlestar Galactica had two gay characters (Felix Gaeta and Helena Cain), but their homosexuality only existed in a series of webisodes. Although it was certainly a matter of canon, it's safe to say that a large percentage of Battlestar Galactica viewers never watched either Razor or Faces of the Enemy. More to the point, by shifting the characters' homosexuality into the webisodes, it removed any chance that gay characters might air on the Syfy Channel.
Therefore, it LOOKS as though, having performed a feasibility study and learned that their fan base is accepting of gay characters, Caprica decided to include an "out" character in the main storyline. Yay?
Regardless of their underlying motives, or of any perceived cowardice on the part of network or show executives, Sam Adama is both gay and married (to a man), but that's just a fact about him. It's part of who he is as a person - just like, you know, real life!
Is this the first openly gay character on the Syfy Network? I'm racking my brains and I haven't thought of any others. But I'm sure you'll correct me if I have forgotten someone!
At any rate, Sam Adama (uncle of, and Very Bad Influence on, young Bill Adama) is a progressive character for any genre, network or cable channel. He has even been voted "Gay of the Week" by the folks over at AfterElton.com. (Who by the way recently named perennial Strange Somethings favorite Captain Jack Harkness #1 on their list of the "Top 50 Gay Characters of All Time!")
I think the most interesting thing about all this is that gay marriage is not just legal on Caprica, but apparently also commonplace. As we know, Battlestar Galactica is heavily influenced by the Mormon faith. And as we also know, it was the Mormon church that was in large part responsible for California's Proposition 8 gay marriage take-back debacle. I'm not really sure what to make of that three-step orobourus, but it is somehow fascinating.
Unfortunately, as awesome as all this is, and as awesome as Sam Adama is in the episodes I've watched, I'm just not digging this show. It just goes to show you that interesting and introspective characterization isn't everything, because Caprica is far too ponderous and "getting all the pieces in the right places" long-term chess game-y to keep my attention.
I have tried to watch it, I really have, but my attention slides right off it. I think the DVD release will serve Caprica well, since I often find that problems with glacial plots are often less noticeable when you watch an entire season over a weekend.