Subject: Wildmon Mounts Campaign to Threaten Hallmark It took less than 24 hours for Donald Wildmon's 'family values' pressure group, the American Family Association based in Tupelo, Mississippi, heart of the Old South, to mount a campaign against Hallmark greeting cards for their decision to market a line of wedding congratulations that is specific to same-gender relationships. Such a speedy response -- even to the extent of special action alert pages on the AFA's website, is made possible by a multi-million dollar budget and a large and sophisticated staffing operation, all of which comes out of the pockets of those who contribute to Wildmon's own family business. (Several members of his clan hold highly-paid, top executive positions in AFA.) Of course, AFA's 'action alert' misrepresents the situation in several important ways, not least by claiming Hallmark is promoting a 'lifestyle' that is illegal in 48 states. They're not clear on what is 'illegal' -- same-gender orientation certainly is not, nor are same-gender relationships or even sexual behavior, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas. And certainly marriage is not illegal in 48 states, nor for that matter is same-gender marriage. Same-gender couples in any part of the U.S. are free to marry -- have been since Canada legalized such unions without any residency requirement. And now the same is true in both Massachusetts and California. So, in all candor, it's a bald-faced lie that AFA is perpetrating. Same-gender marriage (if that's what they mean) is NOT "illegal in 48 states," but it is unrecognized -- a discriminatory second-class citizenship distinction that the AFA and other right-wing groups hope to maintain. Surprisingly, AFA isn't exactly calling for a boycott -- yet -- though it warns in its 'suggested' email text to Hallmark that "American Greeting Cards, your competitor, will be getting my business." Perhaps AFA is shying away from a public call to boycott because its past efforts along those lines have been spectacularly unsuccessful, despite AFA's attempts to spin the results into major victories. Or perhaps Hallmark has such a saturated (and extremely popular) role in the greeting card marketplace that this time (unlike their boycotts of Ford, Kraft, McDonalds, Disney et al.) the AFA realizes it is not likely to seriously affect Hallmark's bottom line. Even when you check the back of a card at your favorite store (and avoid Hallmark's own franchise locations), you can't be sure you're not buying a Hallmark product, since the company now markets under a variety of 'boutique' names -- Shoebox greeting cards, for example. So rather than a flimsy boycott, AFA is calling on its reputed 2.3 million plus 'supporters' (which presumably includes everyone on their mailing list for whatever reason) to send protest messages to Hallmark. I've always considered it very helpful that right-wing 'action' organizations like the American Family Association provide email, telephone and snail mail links for contacting companies and other entities whom they ask their members to bombard with complaints about marketing and social responsibility practices -- it makes it so much easier for those of us on the other side to send our own messages of thanks, approval and encouragement. Here's the information, which I urge you to consider using promptly. No need to mention AFA's campaign -- just something like, "As a consumer who values diversity and inclusiveness in our society, I am very pleased to learn that Hallmark is expanding its card line which offers the opportunity for lesbian and gay people and their families, friends and supporters to 'send the very best.' We've always cared enough, and now we can turn to Hallmark to complete the sentiment. I encourage you to explore other areas in which Hallmark greetings can contribute to a world of acceptance, affirmation and emotional bonding." Donald J. Hall, Chairman Hallmark Cards 2501 McGee Trafficway Kansas City, MO 64108 Phone: 816-274-5111 or: 800-425-5627 E-Mail: Donald J. Hall, Hallmark Cards email@example.com <mailto:sgronb3%40hallmark.com> I suspect Hallmark would be most impressed by receiving 'thank you' greeting cards from their own line of products. Hallmark cards can be purchased at thousands of retailers as well as online -- and the company offers a wide range of free e-cards as well.