This image, made from undated video, shows a scene of a Zola advertisement. (Zola via AP)

This image, made from undated video, shows a scene of a Zola advertisement. (Zola via AP)

In reversal, Hallmark Channel to reinstate same-sex marriage ads

One of the two ads that was pulled showed two brides sharing a quick kiss

The Hallmark Channel, reversing what it called a “wrong decision,” said Sunday it will reinstate commercials featuring same-sex couples that it had pulled following a complaint from a conservative group.

The earlier decision by Crown Media, Hallmark’s parent company, to pull several ads for the wedding planning site Zola featuring two brides kissing at the altar had launched a storm of protest. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner criticized the move and the hashtag #BoycottHallmarkChannel was trending on Twitter at one point.

“The Crown Media team has been agonizing over this decision as we’ve seen the hurt it has unintentionally caused,” said a statement issued Sunday evening by Hallmark Cards CEO Mike Perry. “Said simply, they believe this was the wrong decision. … We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”

Zola, the wedding planning site that made the ads, said it was relieved that the decision to pull them had been reversed. In an email to The Associated Press, the company said it would be in touch with Hallmark “regarding a potential return to advertising.”

The controversy erupted during one of the Hallmark Channel’s busiest seasons, when its slate of holiday programming turns it into one of television’s most-watched networks. Between Dec. 2-8, Hallmark was the No. 3 network in prime-time viewership, behind Fox News and ESPN.

The LGBT advocacy group GLAAD also expressed relief at the reversal. Its president and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, said Hallmark’s “decision to correct its mistake sends an important message to LGBTQ people and represents a major loss for fringe organizations like One Million Moms, whose sole purpose is to hurt families like mine.”

It was a complaint by One Million Moms, part of the American Family Association, that had led to the initial decision to pull the the Zola ads. A post on the group’s website Saturday said that Crown Media CEO Bill Abbott had spoken by telephone with the group and “reported the advertisement aired in error.” It also said: “The call to our office gave us the opportunity to confirm the Hallmark Channel will continue to be a safe and family-friendly network.” The group had not commented on the reversal as of late Sunday night.

Zola had submitted six ads, with four including a lesbian couple. After Hallmark pulled those ads, but not two featuring only opposite-sex couples, Zola withdrew its remaining ads.

READ MORE: Lori Loughlin loses roles on B.C.-based Hallmark films in wake of U.S. college scandal

Molly Biwer, senior vice-president for public affairs at Hallmark, said in an interview Sunday night that from the time the initial decision had been made, “Crown Media had been in agony over the hurt that this had caused. Hallmark has an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

In one of the pulled ads, two brides stand at the altar and wonder aloud whether their wedding would be going more smoothly if they had used a planning site like Zola. The lighthearted ad ends with the just-married couple sharing a quick kiss.

Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A colourful early morning sky, wispy cloud cover, the Golden Ears Bridge in the background, and the Fraser River and wharf in the foreground demonstrate just some of the breathtaking natural and man-made sights visible from the shoreline in Pitt Meadows – as seen through lens of Pitt Meadows resident Karen Foster. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Wharf offers riverside perspective of the bridge

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Jim Jensen recently took a leisurely and peaceful paddle on Alouette Lake, in Maple Ridge’s Golden Ears Provincial Park, and marvelled at the beauty of nature. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Floating on the still waters of the Alouette

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Hayden McGillvray shared a picture taken from the Port Haney train station, looking up the Fraser River from the historic wharf. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Sunset as seen from the train station

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Silver Valley resident Freda du Plessis was photographing bumblebees near Pitt Lake when a “majestic” osprey flew overhead hunting for food. It snagged this fish, and set down on a pole near du Plessis to eat. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Time to feast

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Bill Longpre shared a picture of the Fraser River and the Golden Ears Bridge as seen from one of the remaining mills along the shore in Albion. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Living life along the Fraser

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read