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Kanab businesses open arms to all with new sticker

Published March 25, 2006 1:20 am

'Everyone welcome here': The effort takes issue with the City Council's 'natural family' resolution
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KANAB - Worried that their City Council's "natural family" resolution could leave them tagged as intolerant, unfriendly or worse, Kanab business owners are banding together and issuing their own label.

It reads: ''Everyone welcome here!''



"I'm mad about what the council did," says Kort Stirland, who for 22 years has filled prescriptions at his Zion Pharmacy in this southern Utah town. "We're a tourist destination with people coming here to sleep and eat, and we [business owners] have worked hard to have something to show."

The welcome stickers, which will be popping up in store windows in coming weeks, are part of a new campaign from the Kanab Boosters. The new group wants to spread the word that not everyone in town agrees with the council's resolution and reassure shoppers and visitors that Kanab embraces all.

"It's not just about tolerance, but acceptance of those different from you," says JoAnne Rando-Moon, who owns The Critter Corner, a pet-supply store.

The sticker features a string of rainbow-colored human figures underneath the red rocks of Kanab and the message: Everyone welcome here.

Rando-Moon says the boosters plan to sell the labels - larger ones for stores and smaller ones for cars - for between $2.50 and $4.50. The money will go toward the group's expenses and newspaper ads.

The controversy erupted in January after City Council adopted a natural-family resolution declaring marriage between men and women as "ordained of God." The nonbinding document also promotes young women becoming wives and homemakers and young men growing into husbands and home builders while encouraging a "full quiver of children."

That resolution - pushed by the mayor and later reaffirmed by the council - prompted calls for boycotts of Kanab from gay and lesbian groups around the nation, and from noted travel writer Arthur Frommer.

The boosters are scheduled to meet Thursday with the Kane County Travel Council to discuss the campaign.

"I'll support anything that supports tourism," says Ted Hallisey, the travel council's executive director. "I'm glad the businesses have taken on this issue."

Hallisey says although his office has received hundreds of e-mails and letters from prospective visitors threatening to scrap travel plans to Kane County, it is hard to verify any effect from the boycotts. He says reservations at motels and campgrounds are up.

A clearer picture may emerge at the end of April, Hallisey adds, when revenue numbers from hotel taxes are tallied.

One place the new stickers won't be appearing is at Honey's Jubilee. The Kanab grocery store is owned by City Councilman Terril Honey, who voted for the family resolution and sees it as neither exclusionary nor unwelcoming.

In fact, he fears the sticker push could have the opposite effect, leading to calls to boycott businesses such as his without the logo.

"They [boosters] say that the resolution is divisive when what they are doing, I think, is even more divisive," Honey says.

But booster Duane Barnson, who owns a mortgage company and real estate investment firm, says that is not the group's goal.

"We don't want this construed as being something that is against government or that it is a call for boycotting businesses," he says. "We want this to say, 'No matter what choices you make, we want you here.' "

mhavnes@sltrib.com

 

 

 

 

 

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