Bankruptcy, Locusts, Frogs, Blood: Could a California Gay Tourism Boycott Be Next?

Categories: Business, Politics
Is 'No gay tourism' the 11th plague?

With fiscal and economic plagues already haunting California, could a Proposition 8-inspired professional brain drain -- and even a tourism boycott -- be next?

During a conversation Tuesday, Rob Black, vice president for public policy of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said he's already heard rumblings of boycott sentiment.

"I got a call from out of state at noon today that said a family of five was flying up here to their great aunt's birthday party. The guy's great aunt called him and told him not to come, that he shouldn't spend money in California," said Black, adding that he fears Tuesday's state Supreme Court ruling upholding Prop. 8 may tarnish California's image among visitors."I do think it's going to have an impact on how people view California. California has always been viewed as the land of opportunity, where you're judged on your merits, and hopefully not on your skin color or sexual orientation. It's where you can come and work hard and fulfill the American dream. Since gold miners came out here, that's been the role of California. To enshrine prejudice in the Constitution is not a step in that direction."

California's court-ordered confinement to the back of the equality bus could also hurt the state's competitiveness, Black says.

He notes that the Chamber was an early supporter of domestic partnership rights for San Francisco employees, hosted anti-Prop. 8 events at its offices, and filed a friend of the court brief in the No on 8 case, which was joined by Levi Strauss and Google. The brief had a cool-eyed business rationale, Black says.

"It makes sense to support equality and tolerance both from a pure human resources simplicity point of view," notes Black, "but also from a competitiveness angle, highly educated, creative workforces tend to be drawn to places where tolerance and equality is a value that the community supports."

Photo   |   J. Levine Judaica

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