The Hallmark Channel will include a lesbian marriage in its upcoming movie "Wedding Every Weekend," the first time the network has featured a same-sex couple tying the knot. While a number of people took to social media to applaud the decision, not everyone is celebrating.
“Thank you Hallmark Channel USA!,” commented one man on Facebook. “It’s time for all the ignorant people who judge you for being of the present time to align, represent and see us is in a loving way and make us a part of your movie lineups to tell stories where we are families just like everyone else with the same struggles trying to keep our homes and loved ones safe.”
"Absolutely LOVE that Hallmark is becoming more diverse and inclusive," added another commentator. "Good riddance to those that choose to stop watching the channel because of it. ... There are plenty of us still here to support Hallmark!"
One Million Moms, a division of the socially conservative American Family Association, is among the vocal opponents of Hallmark's LGBTQ-inclusive movie. The group — which according to its website is "fed up with the filth many segments of our society, especially the entertainment media, are throwing at our children" — started a petition to get its supporters to boycott the channel.
"The once conservative network has recently caved to LGBTQ pressure and has done a one-eighty from the wholesome content the channel once aired, and the network is now catering to the Left," the petition, which had been signed by approximately 56,000 people as of Monday morning, states. "So many people feel betrayed by Hallmark over these past seven months. Hallmark Channel was one of the remaining channels that families could watch without being bombarded by politically correct commercials and the LGBTQ agenda."
The petition also states that the group felt misled by Hallmark's description of "Wedding Every Weekend," which does not mention that the movie features a same-sex couple. The synopsis instead focus on the film's two main characters, Nate (Paul Campbell) and Brooke (Kimberly Sustad), friends who attend four weddings together to avoid being set-up and discover they may have deeper feelings for each other. One of the weddings they attend is for a same-sex couple, Amanda and Vicky.
The lesbian wedding scene is shown for a couple of seconds in a preview of the film, posted to the Hallmark Channel's YouTube page last Wednesday. Hallmark also posted a still from the movie of the couple to its Facebook page Friday.
One Million Moms previously protested a wedding ad featuring a same-sex couple that aired on Hallmark last year and launched a petition urging Hallmark to remain “family-friendly” by keeping the “promotion of homosexuality” out of its movies and advertisements.
Hallmark pulled, then reinstated, the ad last year after widespread social media backlash. However, its commitment to LGBTQ inclusion has repeatedly been called into question, especially after none of the 40 films Hallmark announced as part of its 2020-21 holiday lineup appeared to include an LGBTQ lead.
Despite One Million Moms' billing itself as a group of parents who are working to stop the “exploitation of children” by entertainment media, the Southern Poverty Law Center calls its overarching organization an anti-LGBTQ group and a hate group.
One Million Moms did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
George Zaralidis, the vice president of network program publicity at Hallmark's parent company, Crown Media Family Networks, previously told NBC News that the network was looking forward to "making some exciting programming announcements in the coming months, including announcements about projects featuring LGBTQ storylines, characters, and actors."
"Wedding Every Weekend" premieres Aug. 15 on the Hallmark Channel.