VERNE

Did pressure from Catholic group force El Corte Inglés to pull ad featuring gay couple?

HazteOir gathered 21,000 signatures to protest department store “advocating same-sex marriage”

A frame from the El Corte Inglés ad.
A frame from the El Corte Inglés ad.

Following a campaign on Spain’s social networks by a Catholic anti-abortion organization, the country’s leading department store, El Corte Inglés, has removed an advertisement from its YouTube channel featuring a gay couple readying their adopted child for the return to school after the long summer break.

HazteOir.com, which has vehemently opposed Spain’s pioneering same-sex marriage laws, collected some 21,000 signatures on its website calling for El Corte Inglés to withdraw what it called “an extraordinarily bad idea.”

A Change.org petition  in response to HazteOir garnered almost 70,000 signatures

The video for the retail giant – which has a department store in every major Spanish city, along with out-of-town hypermarkets and inner-city supermarkets – featured a male homosexual couple bickering while they try to put covers on their boy’s school books, with one telling the other, “Darling, let me, you’ve got glue on your hands,” as they struggle with the task. At the end of the 20-second ad, a child who is lying on a sofa watching TV with a friend, turns to him and says: “See? I told you it wouldn’t be quicker with two dads!”

“El Corte Inglés is proposing that children should lose their right to a father and a mother,” said HazteOir, hailing on its website the “success” of its campaign, while the department store has been criticized on social networks for supposedly backing down.

The company told Verne that the video, along with seven others advertising the return to school in Spain, had been withdrawn from its YouTube channel because it no longer had the rights to the music used in the ads.

“Another triumph for homophobia,” reads this tweet.

It added: “El Corte Inglés respects all sensibilities and doesn’t wish to offend anybody.” It points out that it has included same-sex couples in advertisements before.

Spain legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, despite opposition from the Catholic Church. The country is regarded as one of the most gay-friendly in Europe, although there has been an increase in the number of homophobic attacks in recent years.

HazteOir claims that the head of the communication department of El Corte Inglés got in touch personally to say the store was withdrawing the advertisements.

El Corte Inglés respects all sensibilities and doesn’t wish to offend anybody Company spokesperson

An online campaign in response to HazteOir’s petition garnered almost 70,000 signatures on Change.org “to prevent the spot from being withdrawn and supporting all kinds of family units.” It added that the advertisement “shows a reality and a type of family that is an increasing reality.”

A Saint Valentine’s Day video from El Corte Inglés called Cupido in Love, which featured a male gay couple, was widely viewed with more than 478,000 hits. The chain repeated the idea this year, with the hashtag #Síatodo (yes to everything).

English version by Nick Lyne.

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