LDS leader Boyd K. Packer's Sunday message to millions of followers that being gay is morally wrong is being criticized by gay leaders.

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, rallied 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.

On Monday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate, called Packer's statements “inaccurate” and “dangerous.”

“Words have consequences, particularly when they come from a faith leader,” Joe Solmonese, president of HRC, said in a statement. “When a faith leader tells gay people that they are a mistake because God would never have made them that way and they don’t deserve love, it sends a very powerful message that violence and/or discrimination against LGBT people is acceptable. It also emotionally devastates those who are LGBT or may be struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identify. His words were not only inaccurate, they were also dangerous.”

Gay activists in Salt Lake City are organizing a Thursday protest against Packer. Blogger and activist Eric Ethington is spearheading the demonstration to be held outside the LDS Church Office Building.

“This kind of disgusting hate speech is responsible for more teen suicides every year than we even know,” Ethington wrote on a Facebook page promoting the protest. “Kids kill themselves, or are thrown from their homes because they are taught by men like this that God doesn't love them.”

A majority (55%, as of Monday night) of people participating in a local ABC affiliate poll agreed with Packer's positions on gay marriage and same-sex attraction.

At the behest of their leaders, Mormons donated millions to the 2008 campaign to ban gay marriage in California.