Minnesota Mormons Marching in Twin Cities GLBT Pride

The group Mormon Allies issued a press release announcing that a contingent of active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) will be marching in the Twin Cities LGBT Pride parade for the first time ever.

Read the full press release:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (June 17, 2012) – A contingent of active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) will be marching in the Twin Cities LGBT Pride parade for the first time ever.

Marching under the banner of “Mormon Allies,” this contingent of straight and LGBT Latter-day Saints is marching to show their support for LGBT Mormons, and for the larger LGBT community.

Mormons in Minnesota will be joining other Mormons across the country who are making a historic show of support for the LGBT community.  Although gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Mormons have participated in Pride events on the West Coast and in Utah for decades under the aegis of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons, this is the first time that large numbers of heterosexual, active church members are joining with LGBT Mormons in the march, even in cities not historically known for having a large and visible Mormon presence, such as Memphis, Cleveland, Houston, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

“I think we’re witnessing a sea change among Mormons in relation to the LGBT community,” said Sam Noble, a contingent participant.  “A lot of Mormons can’t reconcile what they know personally about gay and lesbian family members, friends and neighbors with a lot of the stereotypes people in the Church have about gay people, and they want to speak out.  Mormons are concerned about the continuing epidemic of gay teen suicide and bullying, and they’re concerned about the treatment of LGBT people in their own congregations.  For many Mormons this concern has reached a boiling point, and I think that’s why we’re seeing this sudden interest in Pride.”

Pride events involving Mormons have been organized by a variety of different groups.  Mormons Building Bridges, which rallied over 350 participants in Salt Lake City Pride on June 3, and which organized a contingent to march in Boise Pride (Idaho) on June 16, organized around a more politically neutral message of love, understanding and solidarity.

Mormon participation in Pride events in other cities like Washington, DC (June 9), Portland (June 17), New York, San Francisco, and Seattle (June 24) is being organized under the banners of Affirmation and Mormons for Marriage Equality, organizations that plan to march with an explicitly political message of support for marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

Mormon Allies, the group organizing for Twin Cities Pride on June 24 is an ad-hoc group unaffiliated with groups like Mormons Building Bridges, Affirmation, or Mormons for Marriage Equality.

“Mormons in Minnesota have a variety of opinions regarding the proposed amendment to the Minnesota constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. Some are opposed to the amendment, some feel conflicted about it, and some support it.  Mormon Allies is glad to have all Mormons who wish to make a show of love and solidarity with the LGBT community march with us on Sunday,” said Beth Ellsworth, a contingent organizer.

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