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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Boycott Kanab, Utah

My husband was reading the newspaper, when he started to read (with a voice full of disbelief) a column by Arthur Frommer, who writes the Budget Traveler. Here is the text:

When Nelson Mandela was entering the third decade of his imprisonment, and cruel apartheid was the policy of his oppressors, I refused to travel to the Union of South Africa.
With millions of others, I supported a travel boycott of that nation, and was proud to have played even a minor role in bringing about the remarkable change of South African policy that eventually ensued.

I currently support a travel boycott of Myanmar, the former Burma, whose brutal military dictators have kept the duly elected president of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest for many years.

I will not write about travel to Burma, or go there myself, and am convinced that the widespread condemnation of Burma's military regime is the main reason Aung San Suu Kyi is still alive.

In a world of such monstrous examples of inhumanity, it might seem petty to urge a travel boycott of the little town of Kanab, Utah, but if we don't do the right thing in the face of small injustices, then how can we claim to lead ethical lives?

The City Council of Kanab, Utah, a town that lives off the tourism of Americans passing through to visit Bryce, Zion and Grand canyons, recently took deliberate steps to announce, in effect, that homosexual Americans are not entitled to be treated like all Americans, are not to live their lives free of discrimination or prejudice, are not to enjoy the basic human rights of which the Founding Fathers spoke when they declared "that all men are created equal."

The council did this by passing a so-called natural-family resolution that had been circulated without success to more than 240 other Utah communities, every one of which refused to adopt legislation that was plainly intended to send a message of hatred to the homosexuals who are our fellow citizens.

The resolution was written by a professional lobbyist whose other causes include -- and I do not exaggerate his proposals in the slightest -- the abolition of the public school in America and the denial of Medicaid to persons living in poverty.

Without soliciting the viewpoints of their community members the City Council rubber-stamped a document that defined the only worthy family in Kanab to be a procreating man and stay-at-home woman "with a full quiver of children."

Excluded, in addition to homosexuals, are single mothers, adoptive parents, foster parents, childless couples, grandparents raising their grandchildren, persons who decide not to have children and other groupings of perfectly worthwhile Americans.

When the single female member of the City Council later attempted to rescind the resolution, she was outvoted by the five male members, who also rejected the pleas of other citizens not to make a hate city out of Kanab.

I have since received anguished letters from operators of businesses and other prominent residents of Kanab pointing out that they do not share the prejudiced viewpoints of the majority members of the City Council.

Numerous operators of stores and shops in Kanab have placed decals in their windows stating that "Everyone is welcome here" in order to show that they regard homosexuals as deserving of human rights. A group of business owners signed a petition that was sent to me, asking that I not advocate a travel boycott of Kanab and injure residents who had no part in the hate resolution.

All of them voice a determination to ultimately replace the City Council members who voted for the natural-family resolution.

But if the rest of us adopt a business-as-usual attitude toward Kanab, it is probable that the ire of Kanab's majority will subside and nothing will be done.

I, for one, will not travel to Kanab or stay in Kanab until this homophobic natural-family resolution is rescinded, and I urge all Americans to withdraw their own travel patronage until that happens.

Not everyone in Kanab is happy about the Resolution:
  • Here is an article about it by Kirk Johnson of the NY Times.

  • A letter from Kanab Boosters to Arthur Frommer. They aren't happy with the city council's actions and want to distance themselves from it.

  • Kanab's mayor has organized a "Celebration of the Family" as a counter demonstration against the "Natural Family Resolution".

  • An article about Kanab businesses displaying a sticker "Welcoming Everyone".

    At 10:06 AM, Blogger Fred said...

    In this day and age, it's hard to believe this stuff still happens. The NYT article has an interesting twist with the sticker flap, too.

    Looks like I'll be skipping the trip to Kanab this year.

    At 10:57 AM, Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

    Well, of course I wasn't goin' to Kanab anyway, but if I were, I'd cancel of course.

    This is so crazy it almost seems like a joke. But it's real I'm guessin'.

    At 1:03 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

    So, I suppose us widowed guys are supposed to be dead meat, too, huh? Ok, I'm not visiting Kanab. That I never intended to makes no difference, does it?

    At 4:25 PM, Blogger Marti said...

    How very sad to see these prejudiced attitudes voted into law. I feel sorry for the business operators who do not support this, but I would agree with the boycott. Perhaps if there is a serious hit to their economy, the people will rise up and repel this atrocious regulation.

    At 5:06 PM, Blogger Doug said...

    Yeah, it would be nice if I'd had plans in the area. Maybe I'll make a special trip if all five of the people who voted for the resolution are voted out of office and the new council rescinds the resolution. I bet they think they're Christians.

    At 7:22 PM, Blogger actonbell said...

    I love the Frommers as much as I can love a family I've never met.

    At 9:36 PM, Blogger Yesrie said...

    I'm so glad I visited before all this :-I

    At 10:05 PM, Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

    Amazing. But the sad part is that there are enough people in the USA that agree with the resolution to keep the hotels of Kanab full.

    And who the hell can afford a "quiver full of children"??? Really now! What do these people do for a living?


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