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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.

Go deeper

Firefighters end search for bodies at Surfside

A picture in the memorial that has photographs of some of the victims from the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on July 15 in Surfside, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Firefighters on Friday concluded their search for bodies at the site of the June 24 collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida.

Driving the news: 97 people were killed and one woman, Estelle Hedaya, remains missing.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

🚨: Team USA closes out Day 1 with no medals for 1st time since 1972

📺: The Olympic events to watch today

🛹: Athlete spotlight - Nyjah Huston hopes to skate his way into Olympic history

🇺🇸: After loss to Sweden, U.S. women's soccer team overwhelms New Zealand

🥇: The six new sports at Tokyo 2020

👻: How the no-spectator Olympics could affect the athletes

💉 About 100 U.S. Olympic athletes are unvaccinated

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

2 hours ago - Sports

Jill Biden cheers on Team USA at Tokyo Olympics

Jill Biden congratulates U.S. women 3x3 basketball team after the first round 3x3 basketball match. Photo: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden attended three Olympic events on Saturday and hosted a watch party at the U.S. Embassy for the Team USA-Mexico softball game.

Driving the news: On her first day as a spectator at the Games, Biden attended a women's 3x3 basketball game, cheered on American swimmers during preliminary heats and caught the second half of the U.S. women's soccer game against New Zealand.