Amid the multitude of objectively offensive occurrences on the Thanksgiving holiday — for instance President Trump spent Thursday at Mar-a-Lago threatening to close the border between U.S. and Mexico, dismissing the CIA’s reports on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and thanking… himself — one conservative organization was scandalized by that polarizing, controversial annual event: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
ForAmerica is a conservative organization founded in 2010 that decries the rise of the “radical Left” and aims to use social media and pop culture to “capture the public’s imagination” and “educat[e] a new generation of conservatives.” Thursday morning, their account tweeted a still from the Macy’s Parade of two women kissing along with their horror at the sight:
Millions of small children just watched two girls kiss and had their innocence broken this morning. @nbc and @Macys just blindsided parents who expected this to be a family program, so they could push their agenda on little kids. #macysthanksgivingdayparade #MacysDayParade pic.twitter.com/EmCLSfNmAj
— ForAmerica (@ForAmerica) November 22, 2018
Actresses Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla were performing a number from the musical The Prom when the kiss — destroyer of innocence, ender of childhoods — was aired on NBC.
It would appear that ForAmerica’s efforts to educate the masses via social media are, thus far, unsuccessful: They were swiftly ratio’d. Over 4,000 people responded to the post, mocking the group for their outrage over a very PG expression of same-sex love.
The most popular reply — with thousands of likes of its own, which is a kind of meta-ratio-ing of the original tweet — lists the too-frequent American horrors by which a reasonable person should be offended, like gun violence and hate speech.
As a teacher, I can say with certainty that our children’s innocence is being broken much more by active shooter drills, hate speech by the President and seeing other innocent children being taken away from their parents than a kiss. So yeah… not really.
— Nicholas A. Ferroni (@NicholasFerroni) November 23, 2018
The Prom performance featured what was in fact the first same-sex kiss in a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade telecast. The musical, which opened on Broadway earlier this month, is set in a rural Indiana town where a gay girl is forbidden from taking her girlfriend to the prom. When some famous actors in New York City learn about the discrimination she faces, they hightail it to Indiana to support and advocate for the couple.
It’s a sign of just how mainstream same-sex coupledom — and kissing — has become that this performance would be a part of an entity as traditional as the Macy’s Day Parade (which still features the arrival of Santa Claus in its encore, despite it being a theoretically non-denominational event).
Though the first same-sex kiss to ever air on television was on an episode of L.A. Law back in 1991, it has taken decades for LGBT couples to get anything close to the same visibility as straight couples on the airwaves. An episode of Will & Grace from 2000 included a plotline about a same-sex couple getting cut from an NBC show (Will & Grace aired on NBC); at a protest outside the network’s studios, Will kisses Jack on camera. By 2016, though, it was possible to track some real progress: That year, LGBT characters made up the largest percentage ever, according to a GLAAD study.
The Macy’s kiss comes just a year after Disney included its first same-sex kiss in its animated programming: An episode of children’s program Star vs. The Forces of Evil showed two same-sex couples kissing last October. That kiss was met with backlash from One Million Moms, who signed a petition demanding Disney only “produce family-friendly entertainment.”