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As Kaiser told me over email, "Any discussion of anything gay on television was still pretty rare then."The WNET program and other firsts of the 1970s were early signals of a country and a culture in transformation—a transformation that is still under way today.
That's not to say that progress followed a clear course: The 1970s also saw Anita Bryant's successful campaign in Miami to repeal a gay-rights legislation and the assassination of Harvey Milk, one of America's greatest advocates for gays and lesbians and one of the first openly gay men elected to public office. As Kaiser writes in his book: By 1980, in response to the growing clamor for equality, 120 of the largest corporations, including AT& T and IBM, had adopted personnel policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 40 towns and cities had passed similar laws or issued executive orders.
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Sources tell the Hollywood Reporter that the network felt the site was trying to generate free publicity by the “tried-and-true" method of submitting an ad they know will be rejected.
The National Gay Task Force announced that this was the first time two acknowledged homosexuals had attended a high school prom together in America.
“The network's rejection of it merely highlights the obvious: that CBS had already decided where its ethical priorities lay when they accepted the commercial from Focus on the Family last week.
Those priorities clearly don't lie with women, or with progressives, or with any group that happens to find itself on Focus on the Family's no-fly list.”But CBS has turned down other ads this year, including a racy one from Go Daddy.com, which stars a football player who becomes a fashion designer.
The so-called “man-kiss ad” shows two football fans touching hands over a bowl of potato chips, which then leads, as the ad implies, to a make-out session."CBS has a problem when they do something like this at the same time as they allow an anti-gay group like Focus on the Family to place ads during the Super Bowl,” says Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD.) “This network should come clean to the public about what's going on because this seems to be a homophobic double standard."Pop culture expert Robert Thompson at Syracuse University agrees that CBS has opened itself up for criticism by accepting advocacy ads.
But the network is also right, he says, when pointing out there’s a key difference between an advocacy ad from Focus on the Family and a commercial ad by Man Crunch.