TV & Showbiz

Network Reverses Decision on Ads Showing Same-Sex Marriage

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The Hallmark Network temporarily pulled commercials featuring brides in a same-sex marriage, but then quickly apologized and reversed their course.

Shortly before Christmas, the Hallmark Network pulled four commercials featuring women in a same-sex marriage ceremony. The commercials advertised the wedding website service Zola.

The New York Times reported there were a total of six commercials that first appeared on Dec. 2. Most of the ads, it reported, feature a same-sex female couple along with heterosexual couples while one of the six “focuses only on the lesbian couple.”

The commercials featured the couples kissing each other, which is what couples do at weddings. That’s true no matter what gender each member of the couple happens to be.

The network pulled the ads after learning of a petition from a conservative group. Members claimed Hallmark was “one of the few channels we thought we would not have to deal with” having the “gay agenda crammed down our throats!”

A depiction of a same-sex wedding is shoving an agenda down people’s throats? Funny…I thought most people didn’t watch commercials anyway!

Zola canceled he advertising campaign and cut all ties with Hallmark because of the decision.

Within days, Hallmark reversed the decision.

The company’s CEO issued a statement on the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused,” Hallmark Cards, Inc., President and CEO Mike Perry said. “Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives. Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry  for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”

Perry said the company would work with GLAAD to better represent the LGBTQ community. It would also, he said, reach out to Zola to “reestablish our partnership and reinstate the commercials.”

Hallmark made the right decision in reinstating the ads.

Of all the sources I read on this, a site called Friendly Atheist might have said it best:

Airing an ad with a same-sex couple doesn’t mean you support a political position; it means you acknowledge the existence of gay people. It’s not complicated.

There are people who will never want to see a mention of such a thing. I get it. And those people won’t change their minds.

I’m sure there are people who look for some “oasis” where things they don’t want to hear about never get brought up.

Hallmark, apparently, doesn’t want to be that place. At least, it doesn’t want to be that place on this issue.

Does that mean people might leave the Hallmark Network? Maybe. But it also means Hallmark might pick up more viewers who aren’t trying to bury their heads in the sand.

Gay couples and same-sex marriage exists. They will exist no matter what networks do and don’t air references to them.

Maybe families who disagree with same-sex marriage could, at least, spend a moment talking to their kids about it. Their kids, sooner or later, will learn of same-sex marriage.

Sooner or later, the “bubble” parents construct around kids gets burst in the real world.

Maybe the world would be a bit better if we learned about more people who were different…and could find more ways to celebrate what isn’t.

Maybe 2020 could be a year where that happens a bit more often.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.