A division of the Christian-right American Family Association, One Million Moms, is calling on viewers to boycott the Hallmark Channel, a US TV network, after it aired an advert featuring a same-sex couple getting married.
The organisation posted a call to action on its website earlier this week after online wedding registry Zola’s new commercials were broadcast on the family channel, noting on its campaign page that Hallmark’s content is “usually safe for family viewing. But unfortunately, that is not the case anymore.”
The group’s chief complaint was a kiss shared between the two brides in the ad.
“Recently, One Million Moms received concerns about Hallmark airing a commercial from Zola.com in which two lesbians are shown kissing at the end of their wedding ceremony,” the post reads.
“Similar concerns from regular viewers are posted on an online complaint board for the Hallmark Channel.”
The group - whose parent organization, American Family Association, has been named as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its work “combating the homosexual agenda” - quoted remarks from viewers who said that they were “fed up with having the gay agenda crammed down our throats” while watching a movie with their daughters.
“You are one of the few channels we thought we would not have to deal with this issue!” the comment continued. “Please remove this and any other gay, lesbian, bisexual, or anything else it is called from your channels... We love you but won’t keep watching with this type of ads.”
Zola’s chief marketing officer Mike Chi told Yahoo Lifestyle US that the advertisement and others that the brand recently released are just a representation of the company’s work with millions of diverse couples and that this isn’t the first same-sex couple that the company has featured in TV ads.
“We’ve always represented a diverse set of couples in all of our marketing messages because that’s representative of the couples who are getting married today and the couples who use Zola,” Chi explained. “They come from all types of backgrounds, and the goal of this campaign was to show Zola’s here to help any couple who is choosing to celebrate their love.”
Despite the backlash that this particular commercial is facing from One Million Moms, Chi says that Zola’s mission to support everyone choosing to get married has always been met with overwhelming support, and will not change as a result of the criticism.
“The negative feedback is an outlier,” he says. “We want to make sure that Zola is a place where everyone feels welcome and feels like they can be supported.”
Chi explains that Zola hasn’t had any contact with One Million Moms or Hallmark on the basis of this issue. According to the One Million Mom’s petition, however, the organisation is taking issue not only with this particular commercial, but also Hallmark’s recently-reported openness to creating Christmas programming with LGBTQ characters.
“Parents need to know they could now come face-to-face with the LGBT agenda when they sit down to watch the Hallmark Channel,” the organisation’s campaign page reads. “One Million Moms is asking Hallmark to stay true to its family-friendly roots that so many families have grown to love, and to keep sex and sexual content – including the promotion of homosexuality – out of its programming.”
Neither One Million Moms nor Hallmark immediately responded to Yahoo Lifestyle US’ requests for comment.
Additional reporting by Kerry Justich.