Two billboard companies in Utah denied a group rental space for their “God Loves Gays” billboard message. Armed with nearly $100,000, an internet artist who refers to himself as “God” has already put up a billboard that reads, “God Loves Gays,” in Topeka, Kansas, the city that homes the infamously anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church.
After the successful billboard in Topeka, a same-sex marriage advocate, Restoring Our Humanity’s Mark Lawrence, contacted the internet artist responsible for the “God Loves Gays” billboard campaign and suggested spreading the message in Salt Lake City, Utah, according to KUTV.
Two billboard companies, Reagan Outdoor Advertising and YESCO, both denied the request to put up a “God Loves Gays” billboard. Lawrence told KUTV that both companies said the “God Loves Gays” message was just too controversial. A representative from Reagan Outdoor Advertising allegedly told Lawrence that “they don’t want to offend clients.” The representative also said that the billboards owned by the company “are on leased property and they don’t want to offend any of their landlords.”
Lawrence expressed frustration, stating that he has seen billboards that support anti-LGBT messages speaking on behalf of God for many years.
“You know people have been using God as an assault weapon to attack LGBT people for decades and this is just a simple beautiful message that disarms them and I don’t see how people can find that controversial at all,” Lawrence to KUTV.
The Inquisitr recently reported that Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson has stated he believes God punishes gay people by giving them AIDS.
On social media, people have wondered why Lawrence and the group don’t use their ample funding to erect their own billboard instead of renting a space on someone else’s billboard. Lawrence said that the group does hope to build an independent billboard that will present the “God Loves Gays” message to drivers, and is working with a broker.
“Unfortunately, the best locations are owned by the two top ones, YESCO and Reagan,” Lawrence explained.
Reagan Outdoor Media’s website features statistics that demonstrate why billboards are an important form of mass media.
“Outdoor advertising is great at putting people into the media funnel. It is known and used for: Creating Awareness, Branding, Reminding, Creating momentum, Reaching influencers, Supporting other media, and Generating a response.”
YESCO’s Facebook page has received backlash from social media users since the story broke that the company rejected the “God Loves Gays” billboard proposal in Salt Lake City, an urban area with a high density Mormons.
“I’m a member of the community in Utah and don’t share the ‘community values’ you think should keep you from posting the God Loves Gays billboard,” Sarah Zarate Braudaway-Clark wrote to YESCO. “What community values can you possibly be citing here? Even the Mormon church preaches love for the gay community, whether or not I believe in or agree with their practical application or legal stances. I hope a more inclusive and high minded billboard company exists and will take on this business.”
In the meantime, “God” says he is looking at renting billboard space somewhere in Tennessee to spread his “God Loves Gays” message. On social media, supporters of the “God Loves Gays” campaign are using the hashtag #GodLovesGays.
[Photo via Facebook]