Hallmark Channel Pulls Gay-Themed Zola Wedding Ads After Pressure From Conservative Groups

The Hallmark Channel usually goes full-frontal with Christmas-themed movies way before Thanksgiving Day hits the calendar until the new year rings its bell. The station sometimes offers Christmas-in-July on the network.

Despite the channel's fervor for Christmas spirit, a conservative group called "Bah, humbug" when the Hallmark Channel aired commercials that showed two brides kissing at the altar.

The ad shows two brides facing each other at the altar while discussing some hardships of planning a wedding, and at the end the two women kiss each other. The end of the commercial shows viewers how to log on for a simple one-stop shop for invitations, registry and other to-do-list items associated with weddings.

The women's kiss near the end of the ad sparked controversy among conservatives who watch the channel. Facing pressure, The Hallmark Channel has decided to pull ads from the wedding-planning website called Zola.

"The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value," said Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark, in this Associated Press report.

"The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive," Biwer said in an interview. "We don't want to generate controversy, we've tried very hard to stay out of it ... we just felt it was in the best interest of the brand to pull them and not continue to generate controversy."

This ad was just one of six scheduled to air beginning on December 2, according to deadline.com.

The conservative group One Million Moms pulled together a campaign that targeted the same-sex marriage ad, which eventually led to its removal. Here's what One Million Moms stated on its website.

"Recently, One Million Moms received concerns about Hallmark airing a commercial from Zola.com in which two lesbians are shown kissing at the end of their wedding ceremony," the group said. "Parents need to know they could now come face-to-face with the LGBT agenda when they sit down to watch the Hallmark Channel."

A spokesperson for The Hallmark Channel said the ad ultimately violated the network's policy.

"The decision not to air overt public displays of affection in our sponsored advertisement, regardless of the participants, is in line with our current policy, which includes not featuring political advertisements, offensive language, R-rated movie content and many other categories," they said.

Zola stood behind their ad, claiming they want all people to feel wanted and included with their wedding services.

"We stand behind this commercial 150 percent," Zola representatives stated. "We want all couples to feel welcomed and celebrated and we will always feature all kinds of love in our marketing."

Same-Sex wedding
Two Russian women get married in Denmark in this photo, but a same-sex marriage TV ad sparked controversy in the United States in December 2019. Photo by Niels Christian/AFP via Getty Images