The Hallmark Channel has apologized and reversed a decision made at the request of a Christian mothers group to pull a commercial showing a same-sex couple kissing, its CEO said in a statement to news outlets including Axios Sunday.

Driving the news: The channel faced a social media backlash and calls for a boycott after pulling the ad, which the company said before the backflip was "distracting from the purpose of our network," per CNN.

  • Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who is openly gay, said of the decision to pull the commercial, "Families are built on love — no matter what they look like. Being 'family friendly' means honoring love, not censoring difference. This truth will be more important than ever as we rebuild our nation into a place defined by belonging, not by exclusion."

Background: The commercial was one of many ads from online wedding planning service Zola.

  • The only difference between the commercial that was pulled and others that were approved by the network was that two women kissed in the flagged version, according to Zola. The alternate commercial showed a heterosexual couple doing the same.
  • The removal was sparked by a campaign from One Million Moms, which claimed in a statement: "Until recently, Hallmark had a good record for keeping their movies and commercials family friendly. Now, parents can no longer trust Hallmark because Hallmark is no longer allowing parents to be the primary educators when it comes to sex and sexual morality."
  • Hallmark wrote in a statement earlier that "debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value."

Read the statement:

Go deeper: Chick-fil-A's charity will no longer donate to anti-LGBTQ organizations

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details on Hallmark Channel's reversal and comment from Buttigieg.

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