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Under pressure, Hallmark pulls gay-themed wedding ads

NEW YORK (AP) — 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 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.

In an interview, she added: “The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive. 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.”

Biwer confirmed that a conservative group, One Million Moms, part of the American Family Association, had spoken to Bill Abbott, CEO of Crown Media, Hallmark’s parent company.