Friday, July 11, 2008

South Carolina doesn't want gay tourists, but it will take pigs and "I Believe" license plates

And I thought I wouldn't have to post today.

But my home state is in the news and it involves the lgbt community:

South Carolina’s top tourism agency has canceled an overseas advertising campaign targeting gay tourists.

The campaign, tied to gay pride week celebrations in London, included ads that proclaimed “South Carolina is so gay.” A handful of other U.S. destinations joined the campaign, including Atlanta, Boston and New Orleans.

After learning last week the state had agreed to spend tax money on the campaign — and spurred by a post on The Palmetto Scoop blog — the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism said Thursday it would not pay the tour operator.

Parks, Recreation and Tourism director Chad Prosser said an agency advertising manager signed off on the contract, proposed by the agency’s London advertising contractor.

To me, this is a story of an advertising manager making a possibly unauthorized business deal. However since it talks about the gay community, leave it to our lovely legislators to not miss this sterling opportunity to bloviate about "values:"

Some lawmakers were shocked to learn about the campaign, with state Sen. David Thomas, R-Greenville, calling for an audit.

Joel Sawyer, spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford, said using tax money to support a social or political agenda is inappropriate.

I get it: an ad campaign to generate tourist money is a part of an "agenda," but passing legislation regarding "I Believe" license plates is a-okay.


Please bear in mind that this is the same governor who, in 2004, walked into the State House carrying two pigs.

He wanted to get back at the legislators who overrode his budget veto by symbolizing a protest against "pork projects."

The pigs symbolized things much better than Sanford hoped. In fact, they symbolized all over Sanford and the floor of the State House.

From what I hear, the smell was especially symbolic.

So in this talk of values, who do you choose: gay folks or the Governor who was once covered in pig droppings.

I'm choosing my lgbt brothers and sisters. At least I won't have to hold my nose when I hug them.

Box Turtle Bulletin exposes a hot mess

One of my favorite sites, Box Turtle Bulletin, has exposed an unfortunate incident involving an insurance company and anti-gay industry lies. It demonstrates how difficult it is to kill anti-gay junk science: is a publicly traded company with an advisory board ranging from a former US Senator to executives with various companies, including AT&T. The company is a major sponsor of Bill O’Reilly’s radio talk show and Bill gives voice to their commercial.

In addition to selling insurance, they provide information about the insurance industry. Joe White, an employee and company blog contributor, wrote two pieces in which he claimed that “being gay” was a health risk, and not just a minor one.

In an article on the business website entitled Top five ways to kill yourself and get away with it, White lists the number one way to kill yourself:

1. Being gay. A gay lifestyle is by far the biggest risk to life expectancy that goes unrecognized by insurance companies. The question has been considered by multiple studies, and the gay lifestyle is universally acknowledged to decrease life expectancy. A conservative estimate is that a gay lifestyle takes away 8-20 years from the average lifespan.

In other words, living a homosexual lifestyle has health risks at least as severe as smoking (by some estimates even more), but due to the sensitive nature of the issue, life insurance companies don’t charge different rates for gays. So gays save money on life insurance at the same rate they die young.

It turns out that Mr. White made this claim based on the distortion of the 1997 Canadian study (which I have talked about ad nauseum on this site) and the "research" of the discredited Paul Cameron.

It's like a horror movie. We just can't kill the monster.

But Box Turtle Bulletin is on the case, including contacting the CEO of

I commend them for their work.