The Disney Channel's decision to feature its first-ever gay character and "coming out story" has prompted the conservative group One Million Moms to launch a petition against the media giant.
"The Disney Channel is deliberately choosing to 'move forward' and promote adult content to children," One Million Moms (OMM) said in its petition, signed by over 6,000 people as of Friday morning. "By choosing to move in the direction of more 'adult' stories and content, the Disney Channel - and the entire Disney media empire - may be choosing to sacrifice something far more precious... children's innocence."
According to Deadline, Season 2 of Andi Mack, set to premiere Friday, October 27 at 8 p.m. ET, will feature Cyrus Goodman (played by 15-year-old Joshua Rush) making a self-discovery about his sexuality.
In the premiere, 13-year-old Andi (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) is wondering if her parents will get married, as well as figuring out how she feels about her longtime crush Jonah (Ashley Angel). Cyrus, Andi's best friend, will also realize he has feelings for Jonah, in the process discovering he's gay.
"In the season premiere, Cyrus confides his feelings to a supportive Buffy, a scene intended to provide positive role models for children - and adults - watching," notes Deadline. "Subsequent episodes will follow Cyrus' ongoing story, which will include wrestling with how to tell his new girlfriend Iris."
"Andi Mack is a story about 'tweens' figuring out who they are," Disney Channel said in a statement. "[Creator] Terri Minsky, the cast and everyone involved in the show takes great care in ensuring that it's appropriate for all audiences and sends a powerful message about inclusion and respect for humanity."
Disney reportedly worked with GLAAD, PFLAG, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and Common Sense Media "to ensure the story arc is age-appropriate and respectful."
OMM, however, disagrees.
"What is wrong with having family-friendly content that is acceptable for all ages or even leaving a couple of networks solely for children's entertainment?" the conservative group asks. "Disney Channel is gradually becoming another Freeform Network. As one of only a few channels catering to children, it cannot possibly be that Disney Channel has a financial need for more adult viewers."
The petition adds, "By choosing to abandon family-friendly entertainment, Disney's inexplicable choice to move toward more "adult" fare may ultimately prove to be a huge mistake."
On social media, others voiced their dismay over Disney's decision to include a gay storyline.
"Disney is one of the most rabidly left wing and openly anti-Christian companies in the entire world," wrote conservative commentator Matt Walsh.
"Because your kids are never too young for the left's agenda," conservative journalist Brittany M. Hughes wrote in a Facebook post.
Ray Comfort, of Living Waters Publications, simply linked to his film, Audacity, which shares how to engage gays and lesbians in a loving and respectful way with the Gospel.
This is not the first time Disney has been accused of pushing the LGBT agenda on children. Earlier this year, an episode of the cartoon "Star vs. the Forces of Evil" featured gay couples kissing during a boy band concert, marking the first on-screen same-sex PDA on a Disney cartoon show.
At the time, Ken Ham, CEO of the Ark Encounter, the life-sized Noah's Ark theme park in Kentucky, urged parents not to support the "unbiblical" company.
"They're redefining the family-do you want to entrust your kids to be influenced by Disney?" Ham asked parents in a Facebook post.
"Take the kids to real family-friendly attractions like the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum," he encouraged. "These two family attractions honor and stay true to God's Word in all areas, including marriage and gender."