CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays

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Networks wont run church spot featuring gay couple; say ad runs contrary to company policies.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – The CBS and NBC networks have refused to run an ad by a liberal church promoting the acceptance of people regardless of sexual orientation because the networks believe the ad is advocacy advertising.

The 30-second spot, run by the United Church of Christ, features two muscle-bound bouncers standing outside a church, selecting people who could attend service and those who could not. Among those kept out are two males who appear to be a couple. Written text then appears saying, in part, “Jesus didn’t turn people away, neither do we.”

“Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples…and the fact that 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,” the church quoted CBS as saying.

A CBS spokesman confirmed that the ad was banned, but would not comment directly about the above statement.

“It was against our policy of accepting advocacy advertising,” said the spokesman.

An NBC spokeswoman said the problem with the ad was not its depiction of same sex couples at church, but its implication that other religions are not open to all people.

“It went against our long-standing policy of not accepting ads that deal with issues public controversy,” said the NBC spokeswoman.

“It’s ironic that after a political season awash in commercials based on fear and deception by both parties seen on all major networks, an ad with a message of welcome and inclusion would be deemed too controversial,” said Rev. John Thomas in the statement.

“We find it disturbing that the networks in question seem to have no problem exploiting gay persons through mindless comedies or titillating dramas, but when it comes to a church’s loving welcome of committed gay couples, that’s where they draw the line.”

NBC couldn’t comment on the seeming contradiction by the networks who aired a slew of controversial political ads during this past election but now refuse to air the ad from the United Church of Christ.

The commercial can be viewed at

The church says the ad has been accepted on a number of other networks, including ABC Family, BET Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, TBS and TNT.

TBS and TNT are owned by Time Warner (Research), which also owns CNN/Money.

CBS is part of Viacom (Research) while NBC belongs to General Electric (Research).

The Cleveland-based United Church of Christ claims 6,000 congregations with 1.3 million members.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Dec. 2, 2004
Steve Hargreaves, CNN/Money Staff Writer

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