Story at a glance
- An upcoming Hallmark movie will feature a lesbian wedding for the first time in the network’s history.
- The network has been criticized by anti-LGBTQ+ groups and viewers for showing same-sex relationships on screen before.
- Still, the company has affirmed its commitment to featuring “diversity.”
In the epilogue to Hallmark’s three-part-controversy over LGBTQ+ relationships on-screen, a new movie will feature a same-sex marriage for the first time on the network.
A recap: an ad for Zola, an online wedding planner and retailer, aired on the Hallmark Channel last December and featured a lesbian couple getting married. In response, two anti-LGBTQ+ groups started online petitions asking Hallmark not to air any LGBTQ+ content and gathered thousands of responses. The network buckled — at first — removing the ad and three others also featuring LGBTQ+ couples. But after criticism from Zola and others, Hallmark apologized.
Fast-forward to the upcoming premiere of "Wedding Every Weekend" on Aug. 15, a Hallmark Channel movie that will feature a lesbian wedding for the first time in the network's history. The wedding between Amanda, played by Carmel Amit, and Vicky, played by Makayla Moore, isn't the subject of the film, but one of four weddings featured in the film’s trailer, which follows a romance between “wedding buddies” Brooke Ethridge, played by Kimberly Sustad, and Nate Thomas, played by Paul Campbell.
Still, the film has elicited strong reactions from both fans and critics.
One Million Moms, which first petitioned Hallmark back in December, has started another petition boycotting the network and all Hallmark products "as long as Hallmark pushes the LGBTQ agenda," which has garnered more than 60,000 signatures, according to its website. But alongside more critical comments on the Facebook post featuring the lesbian couple, other fans are applauding the move.
"THANK YOU Hallmark. We are people too and just want to live our lives like everyone else. This includes all the 'passages' in life. Thank you for celebrating our life events," said one commenter, PK Heffernan.
"While I'm not one who usually watches Hallmark movies, I will definitely be watching this one! Thank you, Hallmark, for not caving in to the haters!" said Caroline Burkey.
Another user noted that Sustad, who has acted in several Hallmark films, played a lesbian character in "A Bride for Christmas." In July, Hallmark announced plans for "projects featuring LGBTQ storylines, characters and actors" after criticism that none of the 40 holiday films announced thus far featured an LGBTQ+ lead.
"Diversity and inclusion is a top priority for us," said the company in a statement. "We are committed to creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome."
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