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.Hmmm. This could be fun. Melissa Etheridge is threatening to withhold her California state taxes, which I think all gay people should do. That would do some serious damage to the state of California. Hell, at least they should file an extension.
It could be a heavy price to pay. Tourism brings in $6 billion a year to Utah, with world-class skiing, the spectacular red rock country and the film festival founded by Robert Redford among the state's popular tourist draws.
"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."
....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 mormonsstoleourrights.com began popping up, calling for an end to the church's tax-exempt status.
Aravosis is the editor of the popular political blog, americablog.com, which has about 900,000 unique monthly visitors.
He's 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'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."
Messages left with a Sundance spokeswoman Thursday and Friday were not immediately returned.
Maybe the Mormons should start praying to their salamander.