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By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website   Read more about this blog.
Posted: May 4th, 2012
Jamestown, N.Y.–A same sex couple destination?

Nearby Jamestown, N.Y., birthplace of Lucille Ball, has hit the blogosphere circuit, big time. The story about this serene city looking for innovative ways to increase tourism even garnered attention from a pair of Huff Post bloggers.

The recent brouhaha is over a suggestion by its city council president, who is openly gay, to market the city as a great destination for same sex couples. It’s unleashed a rash of anger and outrage.

According to the Post-Journal, the idea was hatched after the state of New York legalized gay marriage last year. The newspaper ran a recent editorial slapping the idea down as “not serving the best interest of the town.”

“Sticking to a one-issue tourism development agenda does not reach that goal. And it is especially a waste of time and opportunity given the controversy surrounding same-sex marriage.We all know that there just is no way on earth that people in the city would ever agree to market Jamestown as the gay-marriage capital of New York.”

Some laud the council president as being ahead of the his time for recognizing the financial potential that marketing Chautauqua county town as wedding-friendly for same sex couples. But the idea has also become the lightening rod for anti-gay sentiment, hate speech and even threats on the council president’s life.

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