Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"One Million Moms" Protest Gay Wedding Story in "Life With Archie" // UPDATE!!!: Archie Comics Responds

Surely you remember Life With Archie #16, which came out last month and featured the wedding of Archie Comics character Kevin Keller to Clay Walker. Life With Archie is a magazine format comic book that tells of the not-too-distant future where an adult Archie Andrews married Veronica, as well as a parallel storyline where Archie married Betty. Archie Comics' resident gay teen, Kevin Keller, is an adult war hero in Life With Archie and married Dr. Clay Walker in both story lines in that issue. It was a sweet storyline that did its best to distract readers from the train wreck that once was Archie and Veronica's marriage, as well as all of the other bits of chaos that Riverdale's other former teens have made of their young adult lives.

Fast forward to today. One Million Moms (an off-shoot of the American Family Association that enjoys issuing boycotts of businesses that hire gay people or provide material with any gay material) launched an attack on Toys 'R' Us for selling Life With Archie #16. They don't like comic books with two married men and they want you to do something about it:
Select Toys 'R' Us stores are now selling 'Archie' comic books with a same-sex wedding displayed on the front cover. The front cover reads "Just Married" with two men marrying and one is wearing a service uniform. This comic book is being sold in select stores across the country. One example is the Queensbury, NY location in the upstate New York area.

Toys 'R' Us employees do not actually set up the displays; they leave this up to the vendor, but they should be aware of the merchandise being sold in their stores nonetheless. These comic books are sold at the front checkout counters so they are highly visible to employees, managers, customers and children. Unfortunately, children are now being exposed to same-sex marriage in a toy store. This is the last place a parent would expect to be confronted with questions from their children on topics that are too complicated for them to understand. Issues of this nature are being introduced too early and too soon, which is becoming extremely common and unnecessary.

A trip to the toy store turns into a premature discussion on sexual orientation and is completely uncalled for. Toys 'R' Us should be more responsible in the products they carry.

TAKE ACTION: Please send Toys 'R' Us an email letter requesting they remove all same-sex "Just Married - Archie" comic books immediately from their shelves.
My experience is that kids actually "get it" when it comes to gay couples and marriage equality. They don't always get the details, but I would guess that most kids don't get all of the intimate details of married heterosexual adults. But they get that some men love men and some women love women just like most women love most men. I have seen this played out for years as me, my husband, and our kids have interacted with other families and their kids. The parents fret about it and the kids get it. But let's set that fact aside.

One Million Moms have set themselves up to succeed with this e-mail request for parents to write to Toys 'R' Us and demand that they remove each and every issue of Life With Archie #16. Why do I say this? Because Life With Archie #17 just came out last week. That means that retailers are either in the process of removing the left-over gay wedding issue from their stores or they are in the process of doing this. Life With Archie #17 does not feature any gay weddings, though Kevin and Clay are given free food for their honeymoon trip by Jughead.

So One Million Moms won! They got you to retroactively demand that an issue of a comic book featuring a gay wedding get replaced by the next post-wedding issue one week after the new comic book came out. Congratulations on your stunning victory, OMM!

Updated on 02/29/12: Archie Comics CEO, Jon Goldwater, issued the following response to the One Million Moms' complaint about Life With Archie #16:
"We stand by Life with Archie #16," Goldwater writes. "As I’ve said before, Riverdale is a safe, welcoming place that does not judge anyone. It’s an idealized version of America that will hopefully become reality someday. We’re sorry the American Family Association/One Million Moms feels so negatively about our product, but they have every right to their opinion, just like we have the right to stand by ours. Kevin Keller will forever be a part of Riverdale, and he will live a happy, long life free of prejudice, hate and narrow-minded people."

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