The Hallmark Channel is bringing something new to “Wedding Every Weekend.”
Less than a year after facing backlash for pulling ads that featured two brides kissing at the altar, the Hallmark Channel will showcase its first ever same-sex union in an upcoming movie premiering Friday.
“Wedding Every Weekend,” starring Kimberley Sustad and Paul Campbell, follows two single friends who agree to attend four weddings over the course of four weeks together as “wedding buddies” to avoid being set up with other single attendees.
One of the weddings includes the union of same-sex couple Vicky (Carmel Amit) and Amanda (Makayla Moore). The trailer shows the two brides joyfully raising their clasped hands in the air at the altar, although it does not show the couple kiss.
“It really reflects the world we live in now,” Moore said during a behind-the-scenes video posted on YouTube, adding that the movie will also feature a Jewish wedding and a bi-racial union. “It’s exciting to celebrate love in all of its forms.”
Campbell added, “What is so important about what we are doing in this movie is acknowledging the fact that love is love.”
Initial reactions to the Hallmark Channel’s move toward more inclusive programming were a mixed bag. While some social media users applauded the network for “evolving,” others accused the cable channel of “caving” and abandoning “Christian values.”
“We are proud of our movie, ‘Wedding Every Weekend,'” the network tweeted Monday in response to criticism. “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.”
In July, the Hallmark Channel vowed to increase LGBTQ representation following criticism that the channel’s upcomingChristmas movie lineup lacked diversity.
“Diversity and inclusion is a top priority for us and we look forward to making some exciting programming announcements in the coming months, including announcements about projects featuring LGBTQ storylines, characters, and actors,” the Hallmark Channel said in a statement to People and ET Online. “We are committed to creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome.”
The Hallmark Channel is following in the footsteps of Lifetime, which announced its first upcoming holiday films centered on LGBTQ romance and a Chinese American family.