Sep 22, 2022 - News

Utah LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce moves summit from Zions Bank

A sign of the Boise Pride Festival in front of the Idaho State Capitol Building.
Boise Pride Festival in Idaho. Photo: Rebecca Boone/AP

The Utah LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce has moved its annual economic summit from Zions Bank's Salt Lake City headquarters after the financial institution pulled its sponsorship from the Boise Pride Festival earlier this month.

What's happening: Idaho Republican Party Chair Dorothy Moon previously called on the public to contact sponsors to pull their support from the festival due to youth programming at the event.

  • It ran from Sept. 9–11.

Details: Far-right supporters criticized the festival's youth events — drag story time and a drag show that involved children who had permission from their parents — with Moon alleging the events sexualized children, the Idaho Capitol Sun reported.

  • Several sponsors, including Zions Bank, the Idaho Department of Health and Idaho Central Credit Union, reportedly withdrew their sponsorships after receiving a slew of calls to pull out. While others, like the Blue Cross of Idaho, reaffirmed their support.
  • Zions Bank initially cited being unaware of the festival activities "involving children/minors," as the reason for their withdrawal — a move the chamber publicly condemned last week.
  • "Whether intentionally or carelessly, Zions Bank's public statements support the idea that being LGBTQ+ is wrong and that affirming our youth in their identities harms and corrupts them," the chamber said in a statement last week.

Fast forward: After hearing feedback from participants, Liz Pitts, president and CEO of the chamber, said they will now hold today's summit at the South Salt Lake City Community Opportunity Center.

Between the lines: Detractors of the LGBTQ community have wrongly and harmfully linked homosexuality and non-heterosexual behavior to pedophilia, Pitts said.

What they're saying: In a statement to Axios Salt Lake City, Robert Brough, executive vice president of marketing and communications at Zions Bank, said the primary reason for pulling its support from the festival was employee safety concerns.

  • "We received specific threats to some of our Idaho branch locations, as well as other general threats, which ultimately led to our decision to withdraw from participation in this year's Boise Pride event," Brough said.

What's next: For now, Pitts said the chamber was not severing ties with Zions Bank and planned to have discussions with the organization moving forward about its support for LGBTQ communities.

  • "Zions Bank has been a long-time supporter of the LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce, and we look forward to continued discussions with the Chamber. Our support for our LGBTQIA+ employees, their allies, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community will continue," Brough said.
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