Gays aren’t welcome to visit South Carolina

July 16, 2008

People in North Carolina often like to look down on South Carolina, the land of quick marriages, huge fireworks, South of the Border billboards, and cheap(er) liquor. Statistics such these reinforce the case: South Carolina is 48th in annual state health rankings (thank God as they say for Mississippi and Louisiana), tied for next to worst state (Mississippi the worst!) for motor vehicle deaths, and is one of the top states for domestic violence deaths, Outside of a couple of suburban districts, the schools are well known to suck. In any case, schools are still segregated in South Carolina. The state is often bizarre, with the continuing crisis over the Confederate battle flag, nasty political campaignsstrange politicians and worse.

The latest indignity for SC is the flap over a potentially state sponsored tourism campaign in the UK directed at gays and lesbians. What else, a blog found out about it, and the state felt compelled to fall all over itself to disavow the campaign complete with a requisite involuntary resignation of a low level official. It appears that said low level official got an offer to participate in the program, and agreed to do it. There are accusations by the governor’s office that the said official must have had a political agenda, whatever the evidence of that is.

There isn’t anything inherently sinister (well, outside of SC) about promoting tourism to the GLBT community. They spend a lot of money after all, and lots of places want their business. Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Washington, D.C participated in the same campaign that SC backed out of (Georgia wants gays??) without reprecussions. Other US locations (not just California) have been currying favor with the GLBT community with their own campaigns. European government tourism sites often have ‘gay and lesbian’ sections.

Admittedly, if the state of North Carolina was caught doing the same thing, the same reaction would likely happen here.

Note: Get your copy of the offending ad here! How knows, maybe more people will pay attention to the ad now than spending the $5K in the first place would have, sort of an Streisand effect in play.

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