Mormons march in Gay Pride Parade to build bridges

Before the drag queens in heels danced across Main Street, more than 300 members of the LDS Church left Utah Gay Pride Parade spectators in tears Sunday morning. One Mormon father turned to the crowd and thanked people for forgiving him.

The group, Mormons Building Bridges, said they wanted to send a message of love to the state’s LGBT community, a message they believe is compatible with their faith.

Emily Vandyke, 50, carried a sign with the words from an LDS children’s song: “I’ll walk with you, I’ll talk with you. That’s how I’ll show my love for you.”

Several blocks along the parade route, she embraced a tall woman weeping at the edge of the crowd who said, “Thank you.”

“I haven’t recognized them as equals,” Vandyke said a few minutes later. “They have been invisible to me.”

Later, parade Grand Marshal Dustin Lance Black, tweeted: “In tears. Over 300 straight, active Mormons showed up to march with me at the Utah Pride parade in support of LGBT people.”

Mormons Building Bridges followed right behind Black in the parade. The men in beige suits and ties and the little girls in white dresses were a sharp contrast to the pounding music and dancers behind them, but the crowd clapped and shouted their approval for the folks in their Sunday best. Erika Munson, a mom of five from Sandy, started the group a few weeks ago to show her support for the LGBT community and to encourage members of her religion to do the same in a public way.

Holly Nelson, a 38-year-old lesbian who lives in Murray, had tears in their eyes as the Mormons walked past.

“I think it’s amazing,” she said. “It’s been so hard to be in Utah knowing the Mormon church is against the gay community.”

Seeing the group, which had three times the participants than originally expected, made her feel she isn’t judged by every Mormon in the state, Nelson said.

The rest of the story can be found on the original publication by the Salt Lake Tribune.

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