J.C. Penny Sparks Outrage For Featuring Gay Parents In Father’s Day Ad

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J.C. Penny has sparked outrage among many of its consumers by making the decision to feature two gay dads in their Father’s Day ad, reports CNN.com.

Instead of the cookie-cutter family — mother, father, 2.5 children and a puppy — that ceased to represent America long ago, they used couple Cooper Smith and Todd Koch, parents of two adorable children Mason and Claire.


This is not the first time that J.C. Penny has sparked outrage over what some consider to be a political stance — as opposed to a basic human rights issue.  After first tapping Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson, then in May, featuring lesbian moms in an ad for Mother’s Day, the organization ‘One Million Moms’ waged a public war against J.C. Penny for their lack of “neutrality,” reports Huffington Post.

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Companies, such as Target, have taken the opposite route, and donated money to anti-gay politicians, leading to boycotts from the LGBT community. In response, they have recently begun selling pro-gay T-shirts in support of a group working to defeat a ban on gay marriage, reports the Miami Herald.

Take a look at other corporations that have become publicly inclusive of the LGBT community:


According to reports, total sales for J.C. Penny fell  20% in the first quarter and most business analysts have blamed the fall on pricing changes. Conservative columnist Al Lewis of Dow Jones Newswires disagrees.

“[CEO Ron Johnson] is alienating ‘Gay. C. Penny’ traditional customers in a bid to attract new customers from higher socio-economic segments that now shop Macy’s, Nordstrom and Target,” wrote Al Lewis. “The result? Larger-than-expected losses, plunging revenues, dwindling customer traffic and a plunging stock price.”

While homophobia is not a new phenomenon, this goes deeper than that. People seem to be uncomfortable with “non-traditional” depictions of family. As previously reported by NewsOne, Hallmark’s Mahogany brand caused a similar outcry when they created a ‘Father’s Day’ card for single Black mothers. Though many took it as a stereotypical  insult to the Black community, Hallmark said that could not be further from the truth and that they began the line at the request of customers:

“Hallmark has long offered “Happy Father’s Day, Mom” and “Happy Mother’s Day, Dad” cards in our lines,” says spokesperson Kristi Ernsting. “It’s a common request for people who have lost a parent and want a way to express to their living parent that he/she has been both mother and father to them.”

The bottom line seems to be that historical and societal definitions of family, masculinity and femininity are evolving and some people are not ready to evolve with them. Like it or not, “family” is not confined to mother, father, children, the dog and a white picket fence. Some fathers are gay and they deserve to be recognized for their hard work and love — especially when there are so many straight men who get to wear the term “father” like a badge of honor when they don’t know the definition of the word.

So Happy Father’s Day to all men who have stepped up to the plate to be a positive force in a child’s life –  gay, straight or otherwise. This is your day; enjoy it!

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