Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lava Chamber of Commerce

I received an email and comment from the President of the Lava Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce in response to my recent post (also picked up by the Statesman)regarding the bigotry expressed by the staff at the Lava Hot Springs swimming complex. Mr. Scott Pearhill, Chamber president, brought a press release to my attention. The following press release was drafted by the Chamber of Commerce and issued Friday, June 12, 2009:
In the past week, the Lava Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce has received numerous requests for clarification about the attitude of our town toward gay and lesbian visitors. While the Lava Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce does not represent everyone, it is nonetheless composed of more than 70 area businesses. Our members comprise most of the retail, lodging, dining, entertainment and recreation services in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, with the Board of Directors speaking unanimously, we want all to know that we hope this isolated incident won’t dissuade visitors from exploring and enjoying our community and, indeed, the rest of Idaho. The Lava Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce feels that all visitors are welcome in our community and we look forward to showing them our Idaho hospitality.
Mr. Pearhill had more to say in the email I received from him:
The Lava Chamber (more than 70 local businesses) has a long tradition of appreciating and welcoming diversity. We composed the press release because, in recent weeks, we received many distressed requests for clarification about the town's attitude toward people who are gay and lesbian. Bottom line: we don't discriminate and we welcome all visitors to Lava.
I appreciate Mr. Pearhill taking the opportunity to speak to the general attitude of the Chamber of Commerce toward gay and lesbian visitors/tourists. More on this incident to come.

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