A card for every occasion ... including same-sex marriage?

Hallmark stirs controversy by launching a line of greeting cards for gay weddings.

Published August 21, 2008 5:40PM (EDT)


Here's some good news for anyone who believes that married same-sex couples deserve to be sent the very best: According to the Associated Press, Hallmark is launching a line of same-sex wedding cards. Sample designs include two tuxedos, intertwined flowers and, in the case of this card, a predictable (though cheery!) array of rainbow-colored hearts. Inside, the cards don't specifically mention marriage (one wouldn't want to miss out on the civil union market) but say things like "Two hearts. One promise."

The article points out that Hallmark is "known more for its Midwestern mores than progressive greetings" -- but this isn't the first time it has trod into controversial territory. It launched a series of "coming out" cards last year. (I remember stumbling across some of those in a Hallmark store in New Jersey -- there were some bad puns about closets.) And it also has cards comforting couples having difficulty getting pregnant or people going through rehab.

Several smaller companies have also jumped into the potentially lucrative market of gay greetings, although so far Hallmark's main competitor, American Greetings, is steering clear. (It says it has plenty of generic cards that can apply to all sorts of relationships.) How big the market will be depends in part on what happens in this election, when California voters will be asked to decide whether to approve a constitutional amendment that would again limit marriage to a man and a woman. Forget the heartbreak this could cause -- what about lost profits?

"What is scary is to produce a marriage line and then November comes and it's recalled and we have thousands of dollars of inventory waiting," said one of the founders of Three Way Design in Boston, which has several designs "sketched and ready" but is waiting to actually produce them until after the election. Yet another reason to hope that the amendment does not pass.

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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