Joe Solmonese, president of the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate,
delivered on Tuesday a petition letter carrying 150,000 signatures
denouncing LDS leader Boyd K. Packer's anti-gay message.
Speaking at the church's 180th
General Conference in downtown Salt Lake City, Packer, the president
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' (the Mormons)
Quorum of Twelve Apostles, railed against gay marriage – “To
legalize that which is basically wrong or evil will not prevent the
pain and penalties that will follow as surely as night follows day.”
– and rejected the notion that same-sex attraction – which he
called “impure and unnatural” – is inborn. “Why would our
Heavenly Father do that to anyone?” he rhetorically asked.
Solmonese called Packer's statements
“inaccurate” and “dangerous.”
“We're here today to tell Elder
Packer and those in the Mormon Church hierarchy who agree with him
that his statements are both factually and scientifically wrong and
that more importantly, they are dangerous and are putting millions of
lives in great danger,” Solmonese said at a press conference
outside Mormon Church headquarters.
Solmonese appeared at the conference
flanked by Utah-based gay rights leaders, including philanthropist
Bruce Bastian, Affirmation President David Melson, Equality Utah
Executive Director Brandie Balken and Utah Pride Center Executive
Director Valerie Larabee.
Packer's speech, given on Oct. 3,
4,500-strong protest by local gay rights activists, who called the
apostle's words painful.