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Over 300 Mormons Join Utah Gay Pride Parade

Monday Jun 4, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - More than 300 Mormon church members who are not gay drew shouts of approval and tears from spectators while marching in the Utah Gay Pride Parade in downtown Salt Lake City.

The Mormons say they sought to send a message of love to Utah's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community by joining the annual parade Sunday. Their participation marked the first time such a large group of Mormons took part in the parade, organizers said.

The Mormons, dressed in their Sunday best, included fathers carrying their children on their shoulders and mothers pushing strollers, The Salt Lake Tribune reported ( ).

Nevin Munson, 13, carried a sign that said: "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

"I'm very saddened by the amount of hate in the world," he said, adding discrimination against gays and lesbians exists around the world. "I don't believe in that - they're humans."

Emily Vandyke, 50, carried a sign with the words from a Mormon children's song: "I'll walk with you, I'll talk with you. That's how I'll show my love for you."

Along the parade route, she embraced a weeping woman who said, "Thank you."

"I haven't recognized them as equals," Vandyke told the Tribune. "They have been invisible to me."

Parade grand marshal Dustin Lance Black, an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, tweeted: "In tears. Over 300 straight, active Mormons showed up to march with me at the Utah Pride parade in support of LGBT people."

Holly Nelson, a 38-year-old lesbian from Murray, also had tears in her eyes, as the Mormons walked past.

"I think it's amazing," she said. "It's been so hard to live in Utah knowing the Mormon church is against the gay community."

While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not consider same-sex attraction a sin, it only regards sexual relations within the marriage of a man and a woman as acceptable.

Some spectators said their homosexuality caused them to leave the church, and they might have remained members had the faith been more tolerant.

"I lost everything I loved because I came out," said Carolyn Ball, a 48-year-old lesbian from West Jordan.

The participation of the church members was organized by a newly formed group calling itself Mormons Building Bridges.

Erika Munson, the group's founder and a mother of five from Sandy, said the success of the event reflected the "deep wounds" in the community. Organizers hope it marks the beginning of a grassroots movement, she added.

"We want to inspire other Mormons at the local level to do things for their LGBT brothers and sisters," Munson said.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


  • Oh Jed said:, 2012-06-04 11:25:56

    OMG, this is really something... I even got a little emotional reading about the sign the woman was carrying. Then, the skeptic in me starts wondering if this is roundabout political stunt for

  • , 2012-06-04 11:28:34

    BS. The Mormons are just trying to garner gay votes making us think they are suddenly in our corner when what they really want to do is befriend us, convert us, and get their tithe. THAT is the Mormons’ gay agenda.

  • Oh Jed said:, 2012-06-04 15:52:33

    I don’t really care what their motivation is for this event...its a nice break from all the Hateland babble going around lately. They won’t get my vote or my tithe. As for my conversion of any sort....good luck with that one. Lol.

  • , 2012-06-05 20:06:10

    I live in Utah and I had the pleasure of hearing Dustin Lance Black’s speech on Saturday night before a large crowd there to see him and our guest entertainer Prince Poppycock. and Dustin was moved to tears as were many me included and when introducing Erika Monson who also was in the crowd she received a standing ovation. it is just a stepping stone and although the battle was not won I believe they were and still are sincere.....In regards to a previous comment "he Mormons are just trying to garner gay votes making us think they are suddenly in our corner when what they really want to do is befriend us, convert us, and get their tithe. THAT is the Mormons’ gay agenda. " I asked what would the vote be for? as much as Mormons despise us GLBT’s why would they even pretend to walk amongst us for fear our Gayness might rub off. To see them was truly amazing....and they were not acting or pretending

  • Oh Jed said:, 2012-06-05 20:37:19

    I am such a big, gullible pushover for someone who is kind to me... That’s probably why I got jumped and beaten up walking home in 5th grade. A guy and a girl that were never nice to me before asked me if I wanted to walk home together. After 30 years I haven’t changed much.

  • , 2012-06-07 10:34:30

    Sorry but Mormons are the very definition of hypocrisy. No caffein... Unless the church owns a coca cola distributership.Their Byzantine liquor laws that require people to join (pay entry) into a ’private club’... Unless the city happensto be hosting the olympics and suspends their rules because its a money generator. Last week they are patently anti-gay, this week they love us. Either A) to take votes away from the Dems, or B) more likely to tap into the hundreds of billions of gay dollars out there. They make up the rules as they go along, and it all has more to do with the almighty dollar than the Almighty.

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