The Hallmark Channel Pulls Ads Featuring Same-Sex Marriage

The US' Hallmark channel has apologized for its decision to withdraw television advertisements featuring same-sex couples, it was reported on Monday.

The One Million Moms website says the group has "personally spoken with Crown Family Networks CEO Bill Abbott", who confirmed Hallmark pulled the commercial and said the advertisement aired in error.

"As the CEO of Hallmark, I am sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused".

A Hallmark spokesperson previously told The Associated Press that the network pulled the ads because the controversy was creating a distraction.

Following pressure from anti-LGBTQ groups including One Million Moms, the Hallmark Channel pulled four ads from wedding registry site Zola that feature lesbian nuptials, while keeping two Zola ads that don't include the same-sex wedding narrative.

"We were deeply troubled when Hallmark rejected our commercials for featuring a lesbian couple celebrating their marriage, and are relieved to see that decision was reversed", Mike Chi, Zola's chief marketing officer, said in a statement to Newsweek. In a statement, Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry said Crown Media was "agonizing" over the decision. "For a channel whose brand is love, Hallmark is leading with fear and discrimination".

Perry went on to emphasize that Hallmark is "committed to diversity and inclusion" and "have a track record to prove it".

The Hallmark Channel has made a decision to reinstate the commercials featuring same-sex couples that they earlier pulled from their network, according to CNN.

On Friday, a Hallmark Channel spokesman implied in a statement that "overt public displays of affection... regardless of the participants", was against the network's current policy.

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The group posted a tweet asking Toyota if it will stop advertising on Hallmark.

The ads, from online wedding planning company Zola, showed same-sex couples celebrating marriages.

Hallmark said it would reinstate the adverts and attempt to re-establish its partnership with Zola.

In the ad, the two women are standing at the altar when they start a conversation about whether their wedding would've gone more smoothly had they used Zola's services.

Meanwhile, Zola stated that its same-sex commercial was meant to be inclusive, and the company vowed to continue to feature "all kinds" of coupes in its advertising.

"We are not allowed to accept creatives that are deemed controversial", a Hallmark account representative said in an email exchange with a Zola ad buyer, according to The New York Times.

One of the Hallmark Channel ads in question features a lesbian couple on their wedding day.

That reputation prompted Hallmark to pull four Zola ads with same-sex couples after getting a complaint from a conservative group with a stated mission to "fight against indecency". "Advertisers on The Hallmark Channel should see this news and question whether they want to be associated with a network that chooses to bow to fringe anti-LGBTQ activist groups, which exclusively exist to harm LGBTQ families". The organization has also "reached out to Hallmark leadership to discuss steps to rectify this discriminatory decision".

  • Michelle Webb