A male couple is
forcibly flung out of a house of worship in a commercial
from the gay-friendly United Church of Christ that has been
rejected by all the major broadcast networks but will
soon air on cable.
spot, known as "Ejector Seat," features a gay
couple being subjected to glares at an unnamed church
before being launched out of their pew as if it were
an ejector seat. Others, including a crying baby and a
handicapped man, are also shown being ejected until a
message of "God doesn't reject people. Neither
do we" appears.
Though ABC, CBS,
NBC, and Fox refused to air the ads, networks including
CNN will begin broadcasting the commercials for three weeks
beginning April 3. CBS and NBC refused an earlier UCC
ad in late 2004, saying it was too contentious.
Ron Buford, the
director of UCC's Stillspeaking media campaign, which
consists of posters and radio spots as well as the
commercials, met with network representatives to
persuade them to run "Ejector Seat."
essentially said they couldn't run our ad because it was an
advocacy ad," said Buford. "I asked,
'What would it take to make our ads not advocacy ads?'
They said, 'It would have to become commonplace for
churches to welcome gay and lesbian people.'"
Aside from the
network reaction, response to the ads has been very
positive, Buford said.
are kind of surprised by it--they laugh," he
said. "The primary message is, everyone is
The message is
apparently being heard, said Buford. Before the first
ad--with the same inclusive message--aired in
2004, UCC's Web site recorded 950,000 hits a year, but
in the following 15 months after the initial
broadcast, 7.1 million visitors viewed the site.
"Everywhere I've gone, somebody meets me at the door
and they say, 'I came to this church because I saw
that ad,'" Buford said. "A lot of them are gay
and lesbian people, but a lot of them are straight people
who increasingly don't want to be part of anything that
1957 as a liberal-leaning Protestant denomination, the UCC
has approximately 1.3 million members and 6,000
congregations. (The Advocate)