Utah outdoor advertising companies reject ‘God Loves Gays’ billboard

The first "God Loves Gays" billboard was erected earlier this month in Topeka, Kan,, home of the Westboro Baptist Church. Staff Reports

The first "God Loves Gays" billboard was erected earlier this month in Topeka, Kan,, home of the Westboro Baptist Church.

The first “God Loves Gays” billboard was erected earlier this month in Topeka, Kan,, home of the Westboro Baptist Church.

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah activist says Salt Lake City’s two major outdoor advertising companies have refused to allow a billboard that reads “God Loves Gays.”

Organizers behind the website “God Loves Gay People” and the Facebook page “God,” erected the first “God Loves Gays” billboard earlier this month in Topeka, Kan., home to the virulently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church.

The billboard is the result of an online funding campaign that has raised more than $93,000 toward countering Westboro’s “God hates fags” and “God hates America” messaging.

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The group donated $20,000 of its funding to two charities — The Trevor Project, an LGBT youth suicide prevention hotline, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness — and said it would seek to place a similar billboard in Salt Lake City, home to the Mormon Church.

KUTV reports that Mark Lawrence of Restoring our Humanity, one of the key players behind Utah’s groundbreaking same-sex marriage lawsuit, contacted the organizers of the campaign to assist in securing a site for the Salt Lake City billboard.

But Lawrence said the idea was rejected by representatives from Reagan Outdoor Advertising and Yesco, who called the subject matter too controversial. He said he is still looking for spots for the billboards, but says they may end up in more out-of-the-way locations.

The two billboard companies couldn’t immediately be reached for comment by the Associated Press.

Organizers behind the billboard campaign commented on Facebook that they are considering Tennessee as a possible future site. A recently erected billboard in Portland, Tenn., proclaims that God says homosexuality “is an abomination.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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