...but so is most of the old South. Beleive it or not, I shortened the following article:
A state employee has resigned and officials have disavowed an international advertising campaign that led to calls for an investigation of tourism posters proclaiming “South Carolina is so gay.”
Similar ads were posted for Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Washington, D.C., none of which reported any negative backlash. But in South Carolina, reaction to the posters — dubbed “the gayest ever mainstream media advertising campaign in London” by Out Now, the Australian advertising firm that designed the promotion — was swift.
The tourism department quickly said it was canceling payment of its $5,000 fee for the posters, which it said were approved by a low-level state worker who did not run the idea by senior officials. The employee, who was not identified, resigned last week, the agency said.
A spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford, who has been mentioned as a possible running mate for the Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, said the governor agreed that the posters were “inappropriate.”
“From where we sit, and for all our many customers, being described as ‘so gay’ is not a negative thing at all. We think it is just great to be so gay,” said Andrew Roberts, (chief executive of Amro Worldwide, the travel agency that commissioned the ads) who called the campaign a success, having reached more than 2 million people in London.
Oran Smith, president of the Palmetto Family Council, a conservative activist group in Columbia, the state capital, said that at first he thought the ads were an Internet hoax.
“I think with today’s economy, we have to be really smart with our tourism dollars, and South Carolina’s market, very clearly, is the family-friendly market,” Smith said. “So if we want to spend our dollars in a way that’s wise, we need to go after our market, and our market is families.”
Said Ventphis Stafford of Charleston: “We’re so gay? Nah. Wrong state. Go to California.”
Eddie Walker, principal of Irmo High School, in suburban Columbia, announced that he was quitting rather than approve the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance at the school, one of the state’s largest.
“Our sex education curriculum is abstinence based,” Walker wrote in a letter to the school. “I feel the formation of a Gay/Straight Alliance Club at Irmo High School implies that students joining the club will have chosen to or will choose to engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, opposite sex, or members of both sexes.”
Such attitudes remain prevalent in the state, said Warren Redman-Gress, executive director of the South Carolina Alliance for Full Acceptance, a gay and lesbian advocacy group.
He stated: I wish the folks at the tourism board had done a little more of their homework. I get calls regularly, people want to know before I come and spend my hard-earned money, my souvenir dollars in South Carolina, is it a place where it is OK for me to be gay? The answer is yes and no. You live on the edge with the simple fact that you can come to South Carolina, spend your money getting here, and someone can come in and say, ‘I’m sorry; you can’t stay here because you’re gay.’”