JCPenny chose to feature two gay fathers in their advertisement as part of their goal to reflect a more progressive America.
Plano, Texas based JCPenney, one of the largest department store chains in the US, is in the middle of yet another controversy surrounding the release of a new Father’s Day advertisement featuring two fathers and their adopted children.
The print ad in the June issue of the retailer’s catalog shows Dallas parents Cooper Smith and Todd Koch playing with their two three-year-old children. The ad reads: "First Pals - What makes Dad so cool? He's the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver - all rolled into one. Or two."
The advertisement follows JCPenney’s Mother Day’s ad featuring a lesbian couple and the announcement of openly gay television personality, Ellen DeGeneres, as the store’s new spokeswoman. The company is trying to recreate their image by taking a more progressive look at America.
JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson has defended the retailer’s depiction of gay couples in their new ads. The store released a statement Tuesday with a spokesperson stating:
"We want to be a store for all Americans. We're proud that our June book honors men from diverse backgrounds who all share the joy of fatherhood.”
The couple was recommended to JCPenney by a friend with connections to the retailer for participation in the Father’s Day issue saying that the store wanted to depict “real life families” The couple agrees with the store’s statement of honoring all fathers.
“That photo is actually a true second of our lives: just having fun, playing with our kids and the affection and love we have for them,” Smith said.
JCPenney has been hit with another boycott from conservative family advocate group, One Million Moms, whom have pledged to not shop at the store until they stop promoting homosexuality.
“[JCPenney’s] homosexual ads are desensitizing our children by normalizing this sinful lifestyle choice,” Monica Cole, director of One Million Moms said. “The Bible clearly states that marriage is between a man and a woman. No one, including JCP, can redefine it.”
The group is encouraging its members to contact store managers and return the catalog back with the message: "Refused . . . Return to Sender.”
In a statement on their website, One Million Moms said:
"We must remain diligent and stand up for Biblical values and truth. Scripture says multiple times that homosexuality is wrong, and God will not tolerate this sinful nature."
The dads claim they are just a normal family, and even though there has been plenty of opposition to the advertisement, the couple says they would do it all over again.
“We knew that there would be some opposition, but it’s nothing that we haven’t heard from people our whole lives. It’s just a part of growing up gay,” Smith said.
Not all the feedback has been negative. Many do not agree with One Millions Moms stance on the issue. The couple says they have been receiving mostly positive comments from family, friends and strangers around the country.
“Some of the best responses that we have gotten from people is, ‘What’s the big deal?’” Koch said. “They didn’t even realize it was anything different until someone made a big deal about it.”