"Highlights" is publishing a drawing of two men loading a car for a family trip in February, which will mark the first time a same-sex couple has been featured in the children's magazine.
The text with the illustration states: "Has your family ever taken a memorable family trip? Tell us where you went and what you liked about it."
Christine French Cully, "Highlights" editor in chief, told The Washington Post about the reactions from the public:
We did expect and received a backlash when we committed to becoming more fully reflective to all the different kinds of families out there. We expect this will make some people unhappy. Our focus remains on creating the best possible content for children.
When news that "Highlights" might feature a same-sex couple leaked out in December 2016, several Christian groups expressed outrage.
One Million Moms ran this headline on their website: "'Highlights' Magazine has Caved to the Left," and called it a "deal breaker":
Many parents and grandparents buy subscriptions to these magazines as gifts, especially at this time of year. They should be warned of the upcoming change of content in these kid's magazines.
This would be a deal breaker for conservative families. Parents are left with no other choice than to cancel their subscription. Even if 1MM didn't disagree morally with the decision, it is not a magazines' job to introduce so called "social issues" to children. That is a parent's role.
The American Family Association announced in its headline: "Popular Kids Magazine has Caved to the LGBTQ," and used part of the One Million Moms' outrage in its petition:
I am highly offended by Highlights' disrespect for the millions of parents whose children will be exposed to same-sex families in upcoming issues of your magazine. In attempting to be politically correct, you are offending a huge majority of your customers. This is a mature topic and is completely unnecessary to feature in a child's magazine.
Please discontinue any plans to include same-sex families in your future publications. It is not a magazine's job to introduce so called "social issues" such as this to our children. That is a parent's role. Highlights will not have my family's business unless this decision is reversed.
Highlights has posted its position on inclusion on its website:
For those of you who know us--who read Highlights magazine as a child or have given it to a child--you know we have a long history of inclusion. When we represent people in our magazines, we make it a point to include diversity.
We strive to be diverse in every way; the goal is not to specifically spotlight diversity but to represent it within the context of the magazine the way we always have, to help kids understand that while differences exist, we are all actually more alike than different.
Our depiction of people is in support of our mission to help children become their best selves and understand that all families, including theirs, are important. We appreciate your continued trust in us in enriching children’s lives with our publications.