Press Room

December 01, 2004

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HRC Denounces CBS and NBC’s Refusal to Air Ad with Inclusionary Religious Message

'It's a shameful censorship of diversity and understanding,' said HRC National Field Director Seth Kilbourn.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign strongly denounced CBS and NBC's refusal to air a United Church of Christ ad that emphasizes the church's welcoming of a diverse membership, including same-sex couples.

In a written statement, CBS told the UCC 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, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks." NBC also called the ad "too controversial."

"It's a shameful censorship of diversity and understanding," said HRC National Field Director Seth Kilbourn. "That the divisive and unsuccessful attempt to put discrimination in the Constitution is being used to deny the church its freedom of religion is un-American. Millions of religious people across the country want their churches, synagogues and mosques to be diverse and welcoming. The media should be offering a balanced portrayal of this, not a myopic and incomplete picture."

The ad finishes with an announcer saying, "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.

The ad has been accepted and will air on a number of networks, including ABC Family, AMC, BET, Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, History, Nick@Nite, TBS, TNT, Travel and TV Land.

Kilbourn added, "While CBS and NBC refuse to air these non-discriminatory messages, they will surely continue to feature popular gay characters who will profit the networks. Fair-minded Americans who disagree with this discriminatory stance should contact the networks and voice their opposition."

To contact CBS, call 212/975-4321.

To contact NBC, call 212/664-4444 or e-mail CEO Robert Wright at robert.wright@nbcuni.com, President Jeff Zucker at jeff.zucker@nbcuni.com or Advetising Sales President Keith Turner at keith.turner@nbcuni.com.

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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