The organisers of Pride in the US state of South Carolina have decided to raise money to pay for an ad campaign on the London Underground promoting the state to gay tourists.
“South Carolina is so gay,” proclaimed posters displayed in one Tube station to coincide with Pride London earlier this month.
The advertising stirred controversy back in the state capital Columbia.
The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism said it would not pay for the ads and blamed an “overseas contractor” for approving it.
Now the Board of the South Carolina Pride Movement has decided to raise the $5,000 (£2,500) necessary to pay the debt owed.
They will also launch their own campaign using a “South Carolina WILL BE ‘So Gay’” ad on Thursday from the SC Pride website.
The Tube campaign was proposed by the state tourism agency’s London advertising contractor. It promotes tour operation Amro Worldwide.
Several US cities took out similar ads to coincide with last weekend’s Pride London celebrations.
SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism director Chad Prosser told The State that employees had “exercised extremely poor judgment.”
Republican state politicians have called for an investigation.
The posters touted South Carolina’s plantations, Civil War history, beaches and golf facilities.
“Unfortunately, South Carolina has sent a message to the world, that a signed contract from any state agency could be nullified if someone says, ‘Oops, we made a mistake in signing this contract,’” said Bruce Converse, SC Pride Board member.
“In other words, the “word” of South Carolina can’t be trusted.
“We believe it is the right thing to do, to repay this debt.
“Once we repay our state’s debt to the UK company, all other proceeds will benefit the SC Pride 2008 Festival and Parade featuring RuPaul to ensure that “South Carolina will be SO GAY” on September 20 2008.“