Excerpts of Thousands of gay activists protest at Mormon Church headquarters, Fox 13
Thousands of gay activists held a silent protest outside the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Thursday.
The protestors expressed outrage to comments made by church leader Elder Boyd K. Packer.
Activists at the protest said the remarks are hurtful and could lead some gay Mormons to suicide.
"Our message is very simple. It's hate speech equal LGBT suicides," said Eric Ethington, Pride in Utah blogger organizer of the event. "You can not tell kids for their entire lives there is something wrong with them. You need to change what's impossible to change and expect them to come out to the other side health."
Ethington organized the event using the social networking site Facebook. He said his event staff counted nearly 4,500 participants involved in the protest, who all wore black in symbolism of the loss of gay Mormons to suicide, who lay down, forming a human chain surrounding the Church's headquarters and Temple Square.
"This last September there were three confirmed suicides LGBT youth in Utah," said Creig Neilson, leader of gay rights organization, the Trevor Project. "In Utah this last weekend there was another one. When these brothers and sisters take their lives, it's because they think that there's no other answer, I understand. When ending your life becomes the better answer, or the better solution, something is wrong."
The LDS Church released a statement in response to the protest saying, "Of course, the Church recognizes the right of groups to voice their opinion in the public square. However, those familiar with the Church's doctrine on the importance of marriage and family know it is based on principles of respect and love for all of God's children."
The Church also issued another statement saying, "We have continually emphasized that there is no room in this discussion for hatred or mistreatment of anyone."