Thousands of gay activists staged a
silent demonstration Thursday in protest of LDS leader Boyd K.
Packer's anti-gay message.
Activists estimated that over 4,500
people dressed in black to symbolize the loss of young, gay Mormons
to suicide, protested the leader's remarks by laying outside The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' (the Mormons) Salt Lake
City headquarters, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Speaking Sunday at the church's 180th
General Conference, Packer, the president of the 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.
On Monday, the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate, called Packer's
statements “inaccurate” and “dangerous.”
The protest was organized by
PrideInUtah blogger and gay rights activist Eric Ethington.
“Tonight, we are symbolic of all the
children who have been killed by messages like Boyd K. Packer's,”
Ethington said. “When you hear nothing from [church leaders] but
that you are nothing but evil and you need to change the unchangeable
nature of yourself, that is only a message kids can take for so
At the behest of their leaders, Mormons
donated millions to the 2008 campaign to ban gay marriage in