Oakland Toyota Dealership Ad Takes Stand for Marriage Equality

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Bay Area car dealership is standing up for marriage equality in a mainstream television ad. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Thursday, May 8, 2014)

    A Bay Area car dealership is standing up for marriage equality in a mainstream television ad.

    Some are calling the ad from a Toyota dealership in Oakland the first of its kind. The ad begins with a woman on the phone talking to her spouse.

    The woman is in a driveway apologizing about a decision she made to buy a new car. The commercial then reveals her spouse is a woman.

    Toyota of Oakland General Sales Manager Irina Ellis said she is proud of the ad, which started airing on May 1.

    "We didn't expect active feedback," Ellis said. "It's amazing. We didn't expect all the emails and phone calls coming into the dealership."

    The dealership has received about a hundred emails -- mostly positive and a few negative -- in response to the ad.

    Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis, who are leaders in Marriage Equality USA, remember when a national furniture ad featuring a gay couple was pulled in 1994 when someone threatened violence.

    The Toyota ad shows America has become more tolerant toward same-sex couples, Gaffney and Lewis said.

    "That's why we are seeing majority support nationwide for freedom to marry," Gaffney said. "People realize we are part of every community part of every family. Business support is a part of that change."