US: Utah ad companies ban ‘controversial’ God Loves Gays billboards
Two Utah ad companies have refused to allow billboards claiming that “God Loves Gays”.
Creators of a popular spoof ‘God’ Facebook page raised $86,980 (£53,897) in donations last month, to advertise its message of love and inclusiveness in Topeka, Kansas, where the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church is based.
The first of the billboards has already gone up, just down the road from the hate group’s headquarters, but the surplus funding received was intended to be used to advertise in Salt Lake City, Utah, home of the Mormon Church.
However, Reagan Outdoor Advertising – which has previously accepted adverts from right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh and anti-gay restaurant chain Chick-fil-A – refused to allow the billboards, alongside Young Electric Sign Company.
Dewey Reagan of Reagan Outdoor Advertising told Buzzfeed: “It was a business decision based on structural realities of our business.
“We don’t actually own the majority of the land underneath the signs where our billboards are located.
“They are there pursuant to land lease agreements and some of those specifically prohibit display of ad copy that is controversial.”
YESCO added: “As a privately owned company, YESCO carefully evaluates all requests for advertising placement. We avoid accepting advertisements that are interpreted as advancing sensitive religious, social, or political interests.”
A statement from ‘God’ said: “Sad news, friends. We are not able to get a billboard placed in Utah because the forces of repression are just too strong there. I am currently investigating getting a billboard in Tennessee.
“Utah has made it clear they don’t want any God Loves Gays billboards. But God will not be denied!”
As the campaign exceeded its fundraising goal, some of the money raised will go to charity, with $10,000 donated to The Trevor Project, which helps suicidal LGBT youth, and $10,000 for the National Alliance to End Homelessness.