Under pressure from a conservative advocacy group, The Hallmark Channel has pulled ads for a wedding-planning website that featured same-sex couples, including two brides kissing, the AP reports. The family-friendly network, which is in the midst of its heavily watched holiday programming, removed the ads because the controversy was a distraction, a spokesperson said in an interview on Saturday. "The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value," said a statement provided by Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark.
Zola had submitted six ads and four had same-sex couples. After Hallmark pulled those ads, but not two featuring only opposite-sex couples, Zola pulled its remaining ads, Biwer confirmed. Biwer also confirmed that a conservative group, One Million Moms, part of the American Family Association, had spoken to Bill Abbott, CEO of Crown Media, the Hallmark Channel's parent company. (Abbott had said in November he was "open" to airing movies about LGBT relationships and families, the Advocate reported earlier this month.) Zola's chief marketing officer, Mike Chi, told the New York Times he was surprised by the move: "All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark," he said.
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