The leading lady, Erin Krakow, is a constant light of love and support on “When Calls the Heart” as Elizabeth Thornton. The seventh season of the beloved Hallmark Channel drama debuts its traditional Christmas Day movie feature, “When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas” on Christmas night, and it just so happens this year that the network known for starting its Christmas joy in October is wrapped up in controversy. For Erin Krakow, however, joined by a throng of her castmates, love, and inclusion are not up for debate. The actress and the entire cast of the drama spoke everything needed on December 16, with hands and hearts in three simple words.

Back and forth back-flip

Initially, ads from the wedding-planning site, Zola, one of which featured a same-sex female couple kissing after their vows, ran on the site, along with others featuring heterosexual couples, until a hubbub began last weekend. The conservative group, One Million Moms, launched a social media boycott of the network and its umbrella company, Crown Media. In very rapid order, Hallmark initially pulled the ads and met with big-name, big group, and ordinary folk backlash. In a matter of hours, the network reversed its decision to pull the ads, declaring that “the team has been agonizing” over the errant choice, and calling it flatly “a wrong decision.”

Ellen DeGeneres, William Shatner, and Sandra Bernhard, all of whom pull a significant fan base across generations, took to social media to ask “Isn't it almost 2020?

” as DeGeneres questioned, perhaps noting that a lighthearted and love-filled wedding gesture should be embraced by everyone in this season of love and gratitude.

Molly Biwer, the senior vice president for public affairs at Hallmark, insisted that “Hallmark has an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion.” She added that the reversal of the decision truly reflects the company's identity and assured: “We celebrate all families.”

For its part, be LGBTQ advocacy group, GLAAD, seems willing to extend a measure of mercy for the wrong move, underscoring that the swift reversal “sends an important message to be LGBTQ community.” Hallmark has made significant strides toward greater inclusion and appreciation of diversity across its programming in recent years.

Those efforts are even reflected in “When Calls the Heart” through multicultural actors and families who hopefully will have growing significant roles in the future. Hallmark was the third most-watched network in prime-time when these issues erupted.

Erin Krakow and her close-knit castmates had the most important statement to issue on the subject.

Let love rule

Erin Krakow opened her hands and heart with the message of “love for all” on December 16, and her co-stars Pascale Hutton, Kavan Smith, Chris McNally, Kevin McGarry, Martin Cummins, Andrea Brooks, Paul Greene, Jack Wagner, Eva Bourne, Aren Buchholz, Kayla Wallace, Loretta Walsh, and more extended their own hearts of welcome on their individual social media profiles. One faithful “Heartie” assembled a full collage of the hand-hearts in a loving gesture of her own.

Newcomers soon are welcomed with open arms to Hope Valley on “When Calls the Heart.” A former “powder man” can turn into a pastor.

A shady businessman can become a tender-hearted mentor to an orphaned child, like Henry Gowen (Martin Cummins) did in last Christmas’s offering. Most of all, anyone can make a new start on “When Calls the Heart,” and there is always room for one more at the table, as Chris McNally's Lucas Bouchard discovers in the movie preview. Networks go wrong in decisions all the time, and Hallmark isn't the only one experiencing some steamy hot water at the moment. Maybe everyone can pause to take a breath and remember the three words-- ending in love—that describe the reason for this glorious season. Mercy should always have a seat, and love served for everyone.

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