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November 08, 2008

Politics and Utah Ski Industry

You have got to be kidding me:

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah's growing tourism industry and the star-studded Sundance Film Festival are being targeted for a boycott by bloggers, gay-rights activists and others seeking to punish the Mormon Church for its aggressive promotion of California's ban on gay marriage.

It could be a heavy price to pay. Tourism brings in $6 billion a year to Utah, with world-class skiing, a spectacular red rock country and the film festival founded by Robert Redford, among other popular tourist draws.

"At a fundamental level, the Utah Mormons crossed the line on this one," said gay rights activist John Aravosis, an influential blogger in Washington, D.C.

"They just took marriage away from 20,000 couples and made their children bastards," he said. "You don't do that and get away with it."

Salt Lake City is the world headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which counts about 62 percent of Utah residents as members.

The church encouraged its members to work to pass California's Proposition 8 by volunteering their time and money for the campaign. Thousands of Mormons worked as grassroots volunteers and gave tens of millions of dollars to the campaign.

The ballot measure passed Tuesday. It amends the California Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual act, overriding a state Supreme Court ruling that briefly gave same-sex couples the right to wed.

The backlash against the church - and by extension Utah - has been immediate. Protests erupted outside Mormon temples, Facebook groups formed telling people to boycott Utah, and Web sites such as began popping up, calling for an end to the church's tax-exempt status.

He is calling for skiers to choose any state but Utah and for Hollywood actors and directors to pull out of the Sundance Film Festival. Other bloggers and readers have responded to his call.

"There's a movement afoot and large donors are involved who are very interested in organizing a campaign, because I do not believe in frivolous boycotts," said Aravosis, who has helped organize boycotts against "Dr. Laura" Schlessinger's television show, Microsoft and Ford over gay rights issues.

"The main focus is going to be going after the Utah brand," he said. "At this point, honestly, we're going to destroy the Utah brand. It is a hate state."

Seriously? This is supposed to intimidate Mormons HOW? A cursory understanding of the history of the Mormon Church would enlighten him that Mormons tend to be less than threatened by what happens outside of Utah. The boycott might affect some tourist businesses, but the Utah Ski Industry and the Sundance Film Festival are not run by the Mormon Church. So to get back at Mormons, attack Utah. To get back at Mormons, attack the Utah Ski Industry.

Dude, if you want to go after the Mormons, you gotta bring more than just a bunch of pissed of homosexuals to that kind of party. You gotta start by martyring someone. Mormons have been through more than just a boycott or two. I have family members from generations back that pushed handcarts to Salt Lake to flee religious persecution. And to have a bunch of California gays talking about hate and a hate STATE... that my friends would be Missouri. That is a hate state. Tell the gays to leave California for Massachusetts by handcart and when they get there, to talk about hate states.

Please take your dollars and stay away.

Posted by Justin at November 8, 2008 04:40 PM


I am coming to Brian Head in 09 from the farthest reaches of eastern Canada without hesitation. In Canada we have same sex marriages in every province. The issue in Canada is how can you deny rights to any group based on either gender, race or sexual (nobody's business) orientation? Having said that regions should have the right to set their own community standards and it should be expected some regions are slower than others to see an issue like this as about rights rather than being about their own opinions on moral conduct. If groups were actively trying to export their community standards to other regions like California it shows how far they will have to come on this issue. Boycotts are childish nonsense for an issue like this. Time and energy would be better spent promoting the constitutional separation between church and state so that minority rights are protected. The prickly part of the issue is most marriages are still performed in church and there are so many different churches. If the state was smart civil unions with ecumenical practitioners would marry anybody and everybody and the rights of these unions would be equal at every level. Leave it to couples to decide if they still want the church that does not want to confer upon them equal rights.

Posted by: Away visitor at November 9, 2008 05:51 PM

I'm not sure that trying to ban the ski industry or the film industry is realistic in any sense. I can see why the gay rights activists are upset, but unfortunately they are just going to have to lick their wounds and move on.

Posted by: VA Loans at December 22, 2008 03:17 PM