Mormons March in Portland Pride Parade
MORMONS FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY | Press Release – For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara Long | 503.757.3250 | firstname.lastname@example.org
MORMONS MARCH IN GAY PRIDE EVENTS
PORTLAND, OR (June 13, 2012) – Throughout June and the rest of the summer, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will be marching for LGBT rights in Pride parades throughout the country, including Portland’s Pride Northwest on June 17.
“We want to proclaim to our LGBT brothers and sisters that Mitt Romney’s stance on this issue does not reflect the views of all Mormons,” said Sara Long, spokesperson for Mormons for Marriage Equality and a marcher in Sunday’s parade. “His position is diametrically opposed to ours.” Romney supports a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and is opposed to civil unions with privileges similar to marriage. By contrast, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the highest-ranking Mormon in the United States government, has declared his support for marriage equality.
Grassroots LDS movements including Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons, Mormons for Marriage Equality, and Mormon Allies will march in Pride parades in at least 14 cities, including Santiago, Chile, the first international march. That number continues to increase as Mormons become aware of the movement and request to head up a contingent at their local Pride celebration.
The events kicked off on June 3 in Salt Lake City, where an expected group of 100 marchers who gathered to show love and support swelled to more than 300, making international news. On June 9 at Capital Pride in Washington, D.C., an expected group of two dozen led to nearly 70 marching under the Mormons for Marriage Equality banner. This weekend, Mormons will march in Pride in Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; and Minneapolis, Minnesota, a state set to vote on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage this November.
“I am marching for equality because I want to send the message to Mormon youth who may see this that there are people from their flock who stand by them, care about them, and support them for who they are,” says Mark Wade of Portland, who plans to march and carry signage supportive of equal rights. “Love every family! And everyone! That’s what Jesus taught.”
Southwest Portland member Annalicia Whittaker wants people to know that “I am here to say that every person is loved and should feel loved – regardless of our individual differences.” Suzi Fei is dedicating her march to “my two young half-sisters, Charlotte and Olivia, who have two moms. I think their family should have the same legal rights and protections as other families.” Marni Zollinger of Gresham is marching with her family of six and backs up that view: “There are no children of a lesser God.”
A study published last year in the wake of publicity about harassment, bullying, and violence against LGBT people revealed that in most Oregon counties, 1 in 4 LGBT teens has attempted suicide, a result expected to hold at the national level. LGBT youth who have been rejected by their families after coming out comprise more than half of the homeless youth population nationwide.
The area’s Mormons for Marriage Equality will be helping both to pass this November’s ballot measure for equal marriage rights in Washington State, as well as working to overturn the 2004 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Oregon.