Content Alert: Do not watch the following video if you're homophobic, if you're easily offended or if you're concerned your sexuality might be flipped by watching a chaste TV commercial for a wedding planning service featuring a same-sex couple.
US cable company, Hallmark, has managed to offend just about everybody after first pulling and subsequently reinstating a TV commercial for Zola, a wedding registry and planning site, following complaints from a conservative pressure group, One Million Moms. The initial banning of the advert was a crass and craven response to One Millions Moms (a name which we suspect is misleading, as well as misspelt), which apparently is an online manifestation of the American Family Association. You won't be surprised to learn that an association whose name includes the word 'American' juxtaposed with the word 'Family' are opposed to gay rights. And you'll never guess where they stand on abortion rights....
The ban of the advert inevitably prompted a backlash on social media and calls for a boycott. It then turned out that Hallmark's principled objections to depictions of a same-sex relationship were not so deep seated after all. One might almost say that they decided to grow a pair, except that seems wildly inappropriate. They announced they would reinstate the adverts and that they were "truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused."
Oh well, if you're truly sorry that's alright then....As Oscar Wilde, the great playwright and poet once said, hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. And Hallmark have certainly paid a big tribute.
Best of all, however, is that the American Family Association are now really, really annoyed with Hallmark. They've post this: "Family entertainment is not the outlet in which to be politically correct by forcing tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality – a sinful lifestyle that Scripture clearly deems as wrong. You can read so in Romans1:18-32. 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."
I don't claim to be a biblical scholar, but I was surprised to learn that Romans has anything to say about family entertainment on cable TV. As a fan of Monty Python's Life of Brian, I knew about the roads, the sanitation and the peace - obviously about the peace - but I simply had no idea that the Romans had given us cable TV.
Post Script: I know that while I've been writing this post, my colleague Geraint has also posted about this news, but I thought I would add my two pennies worth to make the point that you don't have to be gay to be offended by this nonsense, and to show a little solidarity with my esteemed LGBT colleagues.
The chief executive of Hallmark Cards has apologised for its decision to withdraw television advertisements featuring same-sex couples.