Hallmark Channel debuted a new movie Saturday night, Wedding Every Weekend, which featured the first same-sex wedding in the network's history. After the film aired, most viewers showed their love and support for Hallmark's decision to embrace inclusivity and diversity in a new story. The network has been criticized for years and was embroiled in a controversy last year after pulling a commercial that featured a same-sex wedding. Wedding Every Weekend was the first step to change its image, ahead of the new 2020 Christmas movies which will also feature LGBTQ stories and characters.
In Wedding Every Weekend, Kimberly Sustad and Paul Campbell play two single friends who agree to be their plus-ones at four weddings so their friends will not set them up. Over the course of the film, the two fall in love anyway. The weddings they attend include a traditional Jewish wedding, a biracial wedding, and the same-sex marriage of their friends, played by Carmel Amit and Makayla Moore.
As Entertainment Tonight points out, Hallmark has included LGBT characters in the past, but they are usually only in supporting roles. This was the first time a gay wedding was included in one of its original movies. Amit and Moore's characters kiss after saying "I do" and share a scene with Sustad and Campbell, whose characters are amazed by the beautiful ceremony.
Thank you @hallmarkchannel for this step recognizing that love is love! Congrats to the happy couple!!! ❤️ I see, that, sadly, many are saying 'bye Hallmark' for this. I, however, am saying, "well, hello Hallmark, nice to see you here." :)— Nedley's Office (@nedleysoffice) August 16, 2020
Hallmark has faced criticism over a lack of diversity in its movies, an issue that came to the forefront during a controversy with a Zola.com commercial, which included a same-sex wedding. After it aired, the conservative group One Million Moms claimed it received "concerns" about the commercial and demanded the network pull it to "stay true to its family-friendly roots." Hallmark did, but later reversed the decision and apologized.prevnext
Very happy to see this. I thought i wouldn't see the day when @hallmarkchannel would include love in all forms. Love is a value of this country i hold dear, and freedom, freedom to love whoever you want to love.— JMDeLoach🏳️🌈 (@masters_jd) August 16, 2020
In July, Hallmark announced its 2020 Christmas movie slate, which once again included stories that did not involve LGBTQ characters. Hallmark later said it would include LGBTQ characters and stories in the movies. "Diversity and inclusion is a top priority for us," Hallmark said. "We are committed to creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome."prevnext
Thank you for this! I was delighted to get an excited text from my mom that she just watched two women get married on Hallmark. She often worries about her lesbian daughter (me) but this kind of representation helps her be proud.— Jessica Lorence (@jmlorence) August 16, 2020
Hallmark has continued to face criticism from those who do not agree same-sex marriage should be depicted. When one person said they were "disappointed" to see Hallmark "caved to a few people," the network stood by Wedding Every Weekend and its decisions. "We are proud of our movie, Wedding Every Weekend," the network wrote. "Our priority at Hallmark Channel is to develop a broad mix of content, characters, and stories in order to create a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome."prevnext
Definitely watch it when they reair it. It's a cute movie and while the wlw wedding wasn't the main characters it was still exciting and happy to see.— Ginger V (@ultptgmx) August 16, 2020
Way to go! Don't let the haters get you down, you've got a huge audience that's been waiting for this for years. Good on you for taking the first step. pic.twitter.com/5g0hsS5sv8— The Most Golden of Waffles (@Absolute_Hammer) August 16, 2020