For one group, being gay and starting a family is bad enough. Putting it on television? That's just crossing the line.
A right-wing fringe group, One Million Moms, has decided to lash out at the upcoming NBC comedy "The New Normal," a series from "Glee" and "American Horror Story" co-creator Ryan Murphy, that features a gay couple looking to start a biological family with a single straight woman.
"NBC is using public airwaves to continue to subject families to the decay of morals and values, and the sanctity of marriage in attempting to redefine marriage," the group said in a statement. "These things are harmful to our society, and this program is damaging to our culture."
If that weren't enough, the group added that the group is "prepared to contact any and all sponsors of this program if it is aired. 'The New Normal' is attempting to desensitize America and our children. it is the opposite of how families are designed and created."
The group, an off-shoot of Donald Wildmon's American Family Association, claims that it was already successful in a boycott last year by pulling NBC's "The Playboy Club" off the air. The group said that NBC claimed it was pulled because of lack of advertisers. Likely so, but that may have had more to do with the show's bad ratings (it averaged a 2.8 rating/4 share in Fast National overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co.) that placed it No. 18 on the network's schedule and No. 89 overall, than any protests against it.
In fact, such protests have been known to have the opposite effect. A Michigan housewife named Terry Rakolta lashed out at "Married ... With Children" in 1989 on Fox because of its racy content. However, instead of convincing advertisers to pull away, the quiet sitcom that may have been a short-lived program otherwise, received a lot of media attention, boosting its ratings, and helping to establish Fox as a new network.
"Married" would climb from No. 142 in the ratings during its first season to as high as No. 29 in the 1991-92 season. It would end its run in 1997 after 11 seasons and 259 episodes.
"The New Normal" stars Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells as a gay couple looking to start a family. They find a surrogate mother in the form of Georgia King. It also stars Ellen Barkin and NeNe Leakes. It's scheduled to premiere Sept. 11.
Million Moms also went after Ellen DeGeneres last year for becoming part of a new ad campaign for J.C. Penney. Although DeGeneres does not talk about her sexuality in the ad campaign, the group still called for a boycott of the department store for using an out lesbian as a spokeswoman.
It's not clear how much of an impact such a boycott had. J.C. Penney did report that its total revenue was down 2.8 percent in 2011 from the year before, but it still had total net sales of $17.3 billion. However, executives told shareholders in filings with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission that the sales drop was caused by the company's exit from catalog and catalog outlet businesses. Plus, the "Fair and Square" promotional campaign that included DeGeneres did not start until February.
Total net sales in the first quarter, which included January (ahead of the new promotion) were down 20 percent from the year before.
Public sentiment is turning far away from efforts from groups like Million Moms. A May poll from The Washington Post and ABC showed that 53 percent of respondents supported legalized gay marriage, compared to 36 percent support in 2006.
In fact, recent comments from fast food chain Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy over his million-dollar support of anti-gay causes has resulted in a backlash across Hollywood and politics as well. The Jim Henson Co., which has worked with the chain in the past, announced it would no longer partner with Chick-Fil-A on future promotional projects. Actor Ed Helms, formerly of "The Daily Show" and "The Office," also said he would no longer eat at the chain.
Boston mayor Thomas A. Menino says he will try and block the restaurant from opening stores in his city.
Shortly after Cathy's remarks, the restaurant chain itself released a statement saying that its "culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender." The restaurant still does not offer any benefits or protections for gay and bisexual employees, and is still known for firing employees for being "sinful."
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