We’ve noticed a sharp drop in the cost of traveling to Utah — could it be because the state is trying to hedge against a tourism boycott for its role in the recent elections? It wasn’t Utah’s doing, exactly, but the Mormon Church, which makes up over 60% of Utah’s population, poured millions of dollars and hours of grassroots campaigning into passing California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state.
Activist and blogger John Aravosis of americablog.com blames Utah Mormons for taking away rights, and suggests that a boycott of Utah tourism is a good way to show dissatisfaction for the LDS church’s role in passing Proposition 8. He’s calling for skiers to choose anywhere but Utah this winter, and he’s even urging Hollywood to back out of the annual Sundance Film Festival, which makes up a huge part of Utah’s $6 billion annual tourism income.
While gay rights groups have not yet weighed in on the idea of a boycott, other individuals and websites are latching onto the cause, and the backlash against the Mormon Church and the state of Utah by extension has been intense. Aravosis and his supporters can’t reasonably expect to change the church’s view on gay marriage, but he says he intends to go after the “Utah brand,” calling it a “hate state.” He does not call for a boycott of California, saying “the Californians are the victims and the Mormons are the persecutors.” A boycott may not get Utah Mormons to change their minds about gay rights, but Aravosis hopes it will at least get them to stop trying to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of the world.