Press Room

December 09, 2004

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HRC and GLAAD Call on CBS to Clarify Statements on United Church of Christ Television Ad

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called on CBS today to publicly clarify its recent refusal to air a paid advertisement from the United Church of Christ highlighting the denomination's acceptance of all people regardless of race, economic standing and sexual orientation.

In a written statement refusing the ad, CBS told the UCC that the inclusion of scenes that touch on "the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups" by other religious institutions as well as "the fact the executive branch has recently proposed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman" meant that "this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks."

Both GLAAD and HRC have had conversations with senior executives in CBS's corporate communications and standards and practices departments and urged them to clarify this statement publicly. To date, CBS has not done so.

"By refusing to set the record straight, CBS may be sending a dangerous message of support to leaders looking to politicize same-sex couples and their families for personal gain. That is wrong," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. "Allowing misinformation about the failed Federal Marriage Amendment to taint this discussion is potentially damaging to many Americans."

"For CBS to base a policy decision on an anti-gay Bush adminstration initiative raises serious questions about the network's credibility and independence," said GLAAD Executive Director Joan M. Garry. "CBS needs to offer a public clarification and explain why it invoked a discriminatory piece of legislation as part of its refusal to air the UCC's ad."

The UCC ad, which was also declined by NBC, concludes with the line, "Jesus doesn't turn people away. Neither do we. No matter where you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here." View the ad on the UCC website.

In addition to FOX - the only major broadcast network so far to say it will air the UCC's ad - the 30-second spot has been accepted by a number of cable networks, including ABC Family, AMC, BET, CNN, Comedy Central, the Discovery Channel, the Hallmark Channel, the History Channel, Nick at Nite, TBS, TNT, the Travel Channel and TV Land.

Also today, the United Church of Christ announced that it has filed two related petitions with the Federal Communications Commission. More on this story.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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