This year’s Grand Marshall in Salt Lake City’s Gay Pride parade is Dustin Lance Black, the gay Oscar-winning screenplay writer of “Milk.” He’s hoping to “build bridges” between the LGBT community and the Mormon Church. In an interview with Fox 13 News, Black said:
“I think the Mormon Church will look back on this period, much like a lot of the people in this country will, not just the Mormon Church, and look at the lives that have been lost, look at the young people that have taken their lives, the young people who have been forced out onto the streets because of who they are,” he said. “I think there will be a lot of regret and there will be time for apologies and a time for forgiveness, and I think we’re starting that process now.”
While the LDS Church has made its views on homosexuality, gay rights and same sex marriage clear, LGBT advocates said they are finding common ground on some issues, like gay youth and families.
“We’re starting to get to know each other now,” Black said. “I think even some of the leadership in the Mormon Church is starting to realize the pain that’s been caused by things like Prop. 8. But more importantly, by things like allowing Mormon families to think it’s OK to tell their children that they’re ‘less than’ or that they’re ‘broken’ or that they don’t deserve to be a part of their family.”
Marching right behind Black in the parade is a group calling itself Mormons Building Bridges, comprised of 100+ straight Mormons, who support LGBT equality and want to publicly express their love and support for the LGBT community. Joanna Brooks of Religion Dispatches spoke with Erika Munson, organizer of Salt Lake City’s Mormons Building Bridges group:
Erika Munson: Through my kids’ eyes, I see things in a fresh way. So I was thinking about the Utah Pride Parade, which is now almost bigger than the Days of ’47 Pioneer Day parade commemorating Mormon pioneers]. This is a parade about love and diversity and human rights. I felt very strongly that LDS people should have a presence, even as a civic institution. I thought, let me put it out there and see if we can get active Mormons to march—people who are going to church—and let’s look Mormon.
Utah Pride expects 5,000+ individuals to march in the parade, with many more watching and participating in the festivities.
Happy Pride Day Utah!
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