When Todd Koch and Cooper Smith were featured in the June JC Penney catalog with their children Claire and Mason, their gay-themed Father's Day photo may have gone by largely unnoticed if it had not been protested by an anti-gay group.
But thanks to OneMillionMoms, a subgroup of American Family Association which called for a boycott of JC Penney, the couple have been getting more attention than they could have imagined.
Koch and Smith have been invited by JC Penney to march alongside its employees in this weekend's New York City Pride Parade.
'When we were asked by JCPenney's LGBT employee group to be part of their float at NYC Pride, Todd and I immediately said yes,' Smith tells the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. 'Just as they as a company have honored families like ours, we consider this our way of honoring them and the hundreds of employees who are planning to take part.'
'We're so proud of JC Penney for including families like ours in their celebration of parents and showcasing the diversity of the American experience,' he adds.
When the ad featuring Koch and Smith debuted, One Million Moms renewed their call for a boycott of JC Penney just as they had when the chain hired Ellen DeGeneres as its spokeswoman then featured lesbians in its May catalog.
The copy reads: 'First Pals - What makes Dad so cool? He's the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver - all rolled into one. Or two.'
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick says the JC Penney campaigns are part of a noticeable increase in images of gay and transgender people in mainstream advertising.
'National brands are finding that it’s not only a wise business decision to include our community, but that Americans expect to see advertising and marketing efforts that reflect their world today, and that includes LGBT people,' Graddick said.