Throughout June and the rest of the summer, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are marching in Pride parades spanning the country, including Capital Pride in Washington, DC this weekend.
Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons, Mormons for Marriage Equality, and Mormons Building Bridges are marching in Pride parades in at least nine cities from coast to coast, and that number is expected to increase, according to Sara Long, executive director of Mormons for Marriage Equality.
The events kicked off on June 3 in Salt Lake City, where this year’s Grand Marshal of the Utah Pride Parade, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black asked the LDS contingent to march at the front of the parade. Under the direction of contingent organizer Erika Munson, members of the group Mormons Building Bridges carried signs expressing love and support for LGBT neighbors, friends, and family, while not advocating for or against marriage equality. An expected group of one hundred surprised everyone by being between three hundred and five hundred.
On June 9, Mormons advocating for full marriage equality will march in Washington D.C.’s Capital Pride 2012. The numbers of those expected to march in DC has been growing each day as more people become aware of the march and are inspired by those who marched in Salt Lake City last weekend. Crystal Scott Croshaw, a straight active Mormon in Washington, DC explains why she is marching: “ After becoming close in the last several years to many members of the LGTBQ community, I feel extremely protective of my new friends, and I am proud to stand beside them and be proud of who they are. I will march with them, shoulder-to-shoulder until they have the civil rights they deserve. Great hurt has happened in this country with the issues of marriage, particularly, and I am here to tell you that there are strong Mormons who are 100% supportive of members of the LGTBQ community. I am your sister. I am your friend. I am proud of you.”
Mormons will also march in pride celebrations in Boise, Portland, Cleveland, Seattle, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco, New York City, San Diego and Memphis.
Josiah Lambert, a DJ for Sirius XM and a straight active Mormon from Silver Spring, MD says he supports marriage equality because “I believe in the supreme importance of family bonds. Reverence for committed family relationships is a fundamental part of every Mormon’s upbringing. It’s in our blood. In a matter so fundamental for a healthy society, discriminating over sexual orientation is simply not right.”
The issue of equal rights will be fraught in the coming months. Four states – Maryland, Maine, Washington, and Minnesota – are set to have marriage equality measures on the ballot this November. Incumbent President Obama and Vice-President Biden have spoken in favor of marriage equality, while opposing candidate Mitt Romney has spoken against it.
“We are saddened that Mormon Candidate Romney would come down on the side against freedom, against equality, and would support permanently conferring second-class status upon a significant minority of our nation’s citizens,” said Sara Long. “Massachusetts has led the way in showing our nation how marriage is strengthened, not weakened, by all citizens having equal rights to say ‘I do.’”
-Press release from Mormons for Marriage Equality