Gay rights activists descended upon the headquarters of the Mormon church in Salt Lake City yesterday in silent protest as a response to a sermon by Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that homosexuality is an immoral condition that can and should be overcome that was broadcast to millions of Mormons worldwide.
In his remarks Packer said some would argue that gays “were pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?”
LGBT activists dressed in black to symbolize the loss of young, gay Mormons to suicide, lay head-to-toe on the sidewalks circling the church’s six-block downtown campus. SLC Police downplayed the event and estimated the crowd at roughly 1,000, although organizer Eric Ethington, who runs the blog PrideinUtah, said event staff counted close to 4,500 participants.
Said Eric Ethington in his speech to the crowd:
“We represent all colors of the rainbow tonight. We are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, straight, black, white, latino, Mormon, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and atheist – but we all stand firm in one thing, stop destroying our children. And to the youth of the church: Never let anyone tell you that you need to be any different than who you are. There are thousands in this state alone who will love you and accept you. You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are!”
We want to tell men like Boyd K. Packer that we are tired of watching our children die. There are consequences to your words,” Ethington said to the crowd to kick off the event. “You cannot change us, we cannot change ourselves and the more you try, the more dead bodies you leave behind. Stop.”