June 5, 2012 at 2:22 PM ET
An online group is criticizing JCPenney for a catalog that features a Dallas gay couple and their children.
One Million Moms is asking its members to avoid shopping at the Plano, Texas-based retailer, saying it is "disturbed" that the company is "continuing down the same path of promoting sin in their advertisements."
The catalog featuring Cooper Smith and Todd Koch, of Oak Cliff, Texas, began arriving in mailboxes last week.
"We knew that there would be some opposition, but it's nothing that we haven't heard from people our whole lives," Smith said. "It's just part of growing up gay."
One Million Moms is urging its members to write "refused... return to sender" on mailed JCPenney catalogs and advertising and close their store credit cards.
"The Bible clearly states that marriage is between a man and a woman and no one, including JCPenney, can redefine it," Monica Cole, the group's director, said in a statement.
Smith and Koch said they expected but some backlash from the catalog but also said that not everyone agrees with One Million Moms.
Some people didn't even notice anything out of the ordinary in the catalog, Koch said.
"I think some of the best responses that we've gotten from people are, 'What's the big deal? We didn't even realize that it was anything different until somebody made a big deal out of it,'" he said.
In a statement to NBC 5, JCPenney said "We want to be a store for all Americans ... We're proud that our June book honors men from diverse backgrounds who all share the joy of fatherhood."
Smith and Koch said JCPenney approached them in January. The photo shoot was held a few weeks later.
"We're just a normal family, and they were wanting to reflect real-life families in this catalog," Smith said.
"That photo is actually a true second of our lives, just playing and having fun with our kids and the affection and love that we have for them," he said.
For Mother's Day, JC Penney featured a lesbian couple in an ad.
Openly gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is the store's spokeswoman. One Million Moms, which the Southern Poverty Law Center deems a hate group, also launched a campaign in February asking JCPenney to drop DeGeneres as its company spokeswoman.
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