Safe Mode: On
Mormons to march in church clothes in Utah gay pride parade

Erika Munson has never been to a pride parade.

But this weekend, she will be in one, along with at least 100 other active Mormons who — decked out in their Sunday best — will march at the head of the Utah Pride Parade to show support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

"There have been so many years of heartbreak
and strife between the LDS and LGBT community," said Munson, organizer
of the group Mormons Building Bridges. "We just want to send out a
message of love to the LGBT community that God loves them because of who
they are."
Munson is not gay, and she’s not someone who
became involved because of a gay family member or friend. Rather, she
started the group Mormons Building Bridges a few weeks ago to support
LGBT Utahns, to show other Latter-day Saints that it’s all right to
embrace the LGBT community and to reach out to LGBT teens in hopes of
stemming suicide rates.
"We’re going to be marching in our church
clothes," Munson said, "and we want other LDS people to see us and say,
‘Oh, they’re just like me. Maybe I can reach out to a gay person in my
congregation or not be afraid to discuss this issue.’ "
Munson got involved after seeing her own
children, as young adults, question their Mormon faith because of its
stand on homosexuality, which, to them, seemed at odds with their own
attitudes toward LGBT teachers, friends and neighbors and Jesus Christ’s
message of love.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
teaches that it is no sin to have same-sex attraction, but it condones
sexual relations only within the bonds of marriage between a man and a
woman. The Utah-based faith also helped pass California’s Proposition 8,
which limited marriages in the Golden State to unions between only men
and women.
"I felt that there must be people like me,"
Munson said, "who are committed to the church, who believe in the gospel
and want to live Jesus’ word, which is, ‘love one another.’ "
Munson’s group is not affiliated with the LDS
Church or any political party, and though it started just a few weeks
ago, it’s been gaining steam through social media. As of Wednesday, the
group had more than 900 members on Facebook; more than 100 had committed
to Sunday’s march in downtown Salt Lake City.
The group will likely march at the front of the
parade directly behind grand marshal Dustin Lance Black, Oscar-winning
screenwriter of "Milk," a film about openly gay politician Harvey Milk,
said Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center.

Larabee called the group’s message "poignant."

"We all want to support and heal the families
who have LGBT members," Larabee said, "and that’s really the most
important thing."
Marchers also hope to show another side of Mormonism.

"I’m a lifelong member of the church, I love
being Mormon, and I have felt I have grown up in a church that taught me
that God loves his children, and I feel sad that sometimes that message
has been lost," explained Luana Uluave, of Cottonwood Heights, "so a
chance to say ‘God is love’ just seems like a really great thing."
Others have personal reasons for wanting to take part.

Michele Rideout, of Sandy, has watched a family
member who is bisexual leave the church because she felt out of place.
Rideout said it pains her to see LGBT Mormons abandon a faith that she
feels has much good to offer.
"It’s important for our gay and lesbian
members, brothers and sisters, to know that they are loved and they are
welcomed, and I think it’s really important for members of the church to
step up and be modern-day pioneers," Rideout said. "I just don’t want
to see any more hurt when it doesn’t need to be there."She hopes the group’s participation on Sunday
shows there are "plenty of people who belong to the LDS Church who are
very warm, very embracing, very supportive."
Mormons Building Bridges is just one of a
number of LDS groups planning to march in pride parades across the
country in June, though Munson said her group is not connected to the
others. Groups also plan to march in San Francisco, Memphis, Boise,
Cleveland, Portland, Seattle, New York and Washington, D.C., according
to Utah group plans to hand out lollipops
labeled with stickers that read "Love One Another" and carry signs with
religious messages such as "Love thy neighbor as thyself" and "God is
That the Utah parade is taking place on a Sunday morning is not lost on marchers.

"That’s a big deal,"
Munson said. "Some people will be missing their regular church meetings
... but this is an act of worship for us. We’re dedicating this,
really, to the gospel of Jesus Christ and loving one another."

Added: May-31-2012 Occurred On: May-31-2012
By: live_leakuser01
Tags: gay, is, cool
Views: 2778 | Comments: 15 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
You need to be registered in order to add comments! Register HERE
Sort by: Newest first | Oldest first | Highest score first
Liveleak opposes racial slurs - if you do spot comments that fall into this category, please report them for us to review.