The Hallmark Channel is known for its cheesy but heartwarming Christmas movies. This year, the channel decided to diversify its casts by featuring its first openly gay lead couple.
“The Christmas House” chronicles Brandon (played by Jonathan Bennett of “Mean Girls” fame) and his husband Jake (played by Brad Harder) as they visit family during the holidays while anxiously awaiting a call about the adoption of their first child.
“I’m proud of everyone at Hallmark Channel for making the holiday table bigger and more welcoming and warmer this year,” Bennett told NBC News.
Bennett said shooting the movie inspired him and his boyfriend, Jaymes Vaughn, to consider adopting a child themselves.
“Representation is important, but correct representation is more important, not just for viewers who may not interact or accept LGBTQ people, but it’s also important for LGBTQ people to see themselves in media,” he said.
The Hallmark Channel vowed in July to put more LGBTQ representation in its content following criticism that the movies lacked diversity. The company also received Internet criticism after its decision to pull, then reinstate, a commercial including a lesbian wedding last year.
Back in August, the channel showed its first same-sex wedding in the movie “Wedding Every Weekend.”
“The Christmas House” premiered on Nov. 22.