This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Timing is everything.
Four years ago this week, Utah opened its doors to the world when it hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. Now, some believe the luster of the achievement may have been tarnished by the city of Kanab, which last month approved a resolution containing a definition of a natural family that many people in and out of Utah find exclusionary, embarrassing and insulting.
Leigh von der Esch, director of Utah's Office of Tourism, said the nonbinding resolution drafted by a conservative think tank and passed unanimously by the five-member City Council was discussed Monday during a weekly meeting with the staff of Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
We just want to make the [governor] aware that this is on our radar, said von der Esch. We support the tolerance and diversity that made the world welcome here as the result of hard work by communities including Kane County.
The resolution was created by the Salt Lake City-based Sutherland Institute and defines marriage between a man and woman as the basis of the family as ordained of God.
The document was circulated among most of Utah's towns and cities with the suggestion it be adopted as a resolution. Only Kanab has taken the plunge.
Ted Hallisey, the Kane County tourism director, also took part in the meeting with the governor's staff via telephone. He related the response he has been receiving from prospective visitors to the county since the resolution was adopted.
Hallisey said his office was inundated on Monday with e-mails from people in and outside Utah expressing outrage or canceling travel plans to Kanab, including one bus tour of 50 people that waxed its plans to stay at a popular Kanab motel.
Of the 35 e-mails I received Monday, 25 were about the resolution with only three in support of it, said Hallisey.
One of the e-mail writers said they will no longer support Best Friends Animal Society, just north of Kanab, or rubber stamp manufacturer Stampin' Up! in retaliation of the resolution.
It is not the philosophy of Kane County to discriminate, said Hallisey, who is traveling in Texas while still keeping up on the issue through his computer.
Hallisey said the county's Travel Council will probably ask the city to rescind the resolution at the first opportunity it has to get on the agenda.