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McDonald’s ad featuring gay son coming out sparks controversy in Taiwan

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McDonald's in coming under fire from religious groups in Taiwan. (AP)

Religious groups in Taiwan are calling for a boycott of McDonald’s after the fast food giant premiered a commercial they say promotes “gay issues.”

The minute-and-a-half ad features a boy coming out to his father by writing, “I like boys” on a McCafe coffee cup and sliding it across the table.

The father initially seems upset, and walks away. But he quickly returns with his own coffee cup and writes, “I accept that you like boys.” Music swells and the son cries tears of joy. The spot closes with the tag, "Let there be more warmth in conversations."

On YouTube the ad has over 6,900 likes and has been viewed 1.6 million times. According to the Shanghaiist, the spot has received “mostly positive” feedback from local viewers. 

But the Alliance of Taiwan Religious Groups for the Protection of Family is condemning the ad, saying it promotes homosexual behavior.

"Because McDonald’s is frequented by many children, it is especially important to oppose the promotion of same-sex behavior," Chang Shou-yi of the Alliance of Taiwan Religious Groups for the Protection of Family, told Taiwanese media. Chang accused McDonald's of "openly promoting gay issues" and mis-educating children on sexual behavior.

The group is calling for a nationwide boycott of the restaurant.

When the spot debuted on March 6, Brenda Kou, who heads McDonald’s marketing department in Taiwan, told Apple Daily that the brand’s intent was to show the spirit of open dialogue between family members. She also said that McDonald’s wanted to express that different voices can be accepted in society.

Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Taiwan, although seven cities currently accept household registrations of same-sex couples.

According to Shanghaiist, a poll conducted by Taiwan's Ministry of Justice found that nearly 60 percent of respondents approved of same-sex marriage. The country’s president-elect Tsai Ing-wen expressed her support for the LGBT community in a campaign video saying, "In the face of love, everyone is equal. Let everyone have the freedom to love and to pursue their happiness."

But various Christian organizations have been leading a vocal campaign to fight the legalization of same-sex unions. 

McDonald’s has used a similar concept in other countries and in 2010, the fast food chain featured a similar spot in France but the son does not directly come out to his father.