Highlights children's magazine February issue to feature same-sex parents, sparks controversy

A young boy waves a rainbow flag while watching the San Francisco gay pride parade two days after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country in San Francisco, California on June 28, 2015. | Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage

One of the longest running children's magazines in the United States is featuring a family with same-sex parents for the first time in its February issue, just a few months after receiving flak from the LGBT community for not embracing diversity in terms of representing families with same-sex parents.

Highlights, which has been in publication for 70 years, is including a depiction of a family with two dads loading a car for a trip as a gesture to include its readers who may be from families with two dads or two moms. The said image is used to invite followers to share their fond memories of a family holiday. The strip's text reads, "Tell us where you went and what you liked about it."

Wayne County Public Library has been sent a copy of the February issue, and according to its children's librarian, Betty Lawson, as reported by The News Station, "It's not banging anybody over the head with anything." She added, "It's a picture of a family, of a beautiful family packing up to go on vacation."

However, not everyone reacted positively to Highlights' decision to feature an LGBT family. Many Christians took it as a move to introduce sexual themes in their content.

One Million Moms, a group of Christian women, is one of those who took a stand against Highlights for giving in to the pressure from the LGBT community.

In a statement posted on its website, One Million Moms called on families to be warned about the February issue of Highlights, stating, "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."

Ironically, such was Highlight's original stand when it was called out via Facebook by subscriber and activist Kristina Wertz for not featuring LGBT families. In response, the publication wrote at the time, "For much of our readership, the topic of same-sex families is still new, and parents are still learning how to approach the subject with their children, even the very little ones. We believe that parents know best when their family is ready to open conversation around the topic of same-sex families."

Many members of the LGBT community lambasted the magazine for the said response, causing it to reverse its stand and commit to representing families with same-sex parents in their published content.