Some gay activist bloggers have called for a boycott of Utah’s tourism industry, including syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, who announced that he and his boyfriend have changed their vacation plans.
“The Mormon church put up four out of every five dollars spent to ban same-sex marriage in California,” wrote Savage on his blog. “Since all Mormons-in-good-standing must tithe 10% of their earnings to their church, some part of any dollar you spend in a Mormon-owned business — and they’re almost all Mormon-owned businesses in Utah — flows toward an anti-gay church that wages anti-gay political campaigns. Ski Colorado, Washington state, and British Columbia. Don’t ski Utah.”
“Honest to God: My boyfriend and I were talking about taking a trip to Utah this winter to go snowboarding,” continued Savage. “Fuck you, Utah — we’re going to big, blue Colorado.”
He ended his article with, “Utah is the new Coors. Pass it on.”
That raised the ire of Salt Lake City Weekly executive editor John Saltas.
“[B]oycotting Utah does not boycott the LDS Church. The important work is being done on the streets of Utah, and Dan Savage is nowhere to be found. Imagine Martin Luther King Jr. not marching in Selma,” Saltas fired back.
He said that “all Utahns aren’t to blame,” and pointed out that James Dobson, the virulently homophobic founder of the anti-gay industry’s largest organization, Focus on the Family, is based in Colorado. “If you’re a fan of Savage’s column, you won’t find it on our Website any longer … since Savage hates Utah so much, there’s no point in us playing in his sandbox by sending him a regular check,” he finished.
But some activists claim a Utah boycott is starting to grow legs.
“At a fundamental level, the Utah Mormons crossed the line on this one,” said gay rights activist John Aravosis, an influential Washington, D.C-based blogger. “They just took marriage away from 20,000 couples and made their children bastards. You don’t do that and get away with it.”
Aravosis has helped organize boycotts against Dr. Laura’s television show, Microsoft and Ford over gay rights issues.
“The main focus is going to be going after the Utah brand. At this point, honestly, we’re going to destroy the Utah brand. It is a hate state,” he said.
“We don’t need people to stay away from Utah,” said Mike Thompson, executive director of Equality Utah. “We need gay people to come to Utah.”
QSaltLake editor Michael Aaron says that a Utah boycott would disporportionately affect Salt Lake, Park City and Moab, all of which voted for Obama for president and against Amendment 3 in 2004.
“We’d rather encourage people to support the bluest cities in this red state to show support for our constant and continuing struggle, he commented on Aravosis’ blog. “A boycott would abandon us and potentially harm our progressive- and gay-owned businesses.