Supporters back Ellen DeGeneres, J.C. Penney

Ellen DeGeneres accepts the favorite daytime TV host Ellen DeGeneres accepts the favorite daytime TV host award onstage at the 2012 People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. (Jan. 11, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Supporters are rallying to counter a conservative group's campaign urging J.C. Penney Co. to fire Ellen DeGeneres as a spokeswoman because she is openly gay, TheWrap.com reports.

They are showing their support for the popular talk show host, named spokeswoman for the department store chain last week, online and through social media.

Shortly after the American Family Association's One Million Moms group launched its campaign against DeGeneres, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation launched a "Stand Up for Ellen" campaign; within a day, more than 20,000 people signed an online petition supporting DeGeneres and J.C. Penney's choice.

An unscientific poll in the Los Angeles Times showed that 96 percent of readers support DeGeneres.

They also expressed their outrage on Twitter. A sample tweet yesterday protesting the campaign reads: "Dear One Million Moms 'a family values group,' spend more time loving your families instead of perpetuating hate."

The AFA's "One Million Moms," a project made up of an undetermined number of mothers, is urging people to call J.C. Penney headquarters and demand that the Texas-based department store chain ditch DeGeneres because the Cover Girl model, former American Express spokeswoman, People's Choice Award winner and New York Times bestselling author is gay.

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So far, it hasn't happened. DeGeneres, incidentally, is a former J.C. Penney sales clerk.

The American Family Association did not returned a call for comment. DeGeneres was unavailable.

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