Gay rights groups from Washington, D.C. to California are apparently calling for a ban on Utah ski and tourism. Though the ski industry in the Beehive State is probably the biggest champion for diversity (and separatism from the LDS Church), the angry mob's determined to hit them where it counts: Utah's $6 billion a year tourism industry.
The boycott bugle is meant to protest the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' support of Proposition 8 in California. According to the Associated Press, blogger John Aravosis is telling skiers and Sundance Film Festival goers to avoid Utah and Marriott for their complicity in banning same-sex marriages in California. "A lot of people visit Marriotts, and have an easy choice to go elsewhere," stated Aravosis in AmericaBlog.com. "And there's great skiing in Colorado, too."
However, Utah's gay rights leaders say don't be so hasty. "Now is no time to boycott Utah," Mike Thompson told the Salt Lake Tribune. The executive director of Equality Utah - a grass roots, statewide political advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people - added, "We need to show Utahans that we are not going to go away and that we need to be paid attention to." The theory is that boycotting the entire state would harm the gay rights activists within the state; and those are the ones who can do some good to change the climate in Utah.
So far, there are three organized gay events in Utah planned for this winter. Utah Gay Ski Week (Jan. 7-11, 2009) , the Queer Utah Aquatic Club's annual Ski n' Swim Weekend (Feb. 13-15, 2009) and Ski OUT- Utah's winter-long skiing, downhill snowboarding and snowshoe hikes have no intentions of going elsewhere.
One thing's for sure, however, if the gay community does decide to protest during the Sundance Film Festival, some serious dialog will be heard throughout the world.