This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
An anonymous person going by the name "God" has put up a billboard on Interstate 15 in Utah County to support gays.
The sign reads "God Loves Gays," surrounded by a rainbow with a cartoonish, white-haired figure in the middle and will be there until June 14.
A second sign, slated for a billboard on 3900 South in Salt Lake City, will be displayed starting June 15 and running through month's end.
It is part of a nationwide effort begun last year in Topeka, Kan., explains Salt Lake City-based organizer Mark Lawrence, because that is home to the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, which has picketed high-profile funerals holding signs saying, "God Hates Fags."
Lawrence, director of Restore Our Humanity, a Utah-based nonprofit pushing for same-sex marriage and other human-rights issues, contacted "God" in the fall, suggesting the group put up the pro-gay signs in the Beehive State.
In September, however, several outdoor advertising companies, including Yesco (Young Electric Sign Co.) and Reagan Outdoor Advertising, Lawrence said, refused to sell space to the group for its message.
Eventually, a San Diego billboard broker was able to find some independent Utah dealers, he said, to run the ads.
This campaign is funded and produced by the Facebook-created character, "Jehovah God," a release said, who can be found at http://thegoodlordabove.com.
"God has also started a new fundraising campaign," the release said, "to launch 'God Loves Gays' billboards all over the USA and the world."
Lawrence, who has communicated with this person only through email, added: God is "a lot of fun."
Peggy Fletcher Stack