Photograph: Jim Urquhart/Reuters
Utah Gay Pride last weekend received unexpected support in the form of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
More than 300 Mormons, all of whom are straight, participated in the Pride Parade on Sunday as part of a group called Mormons Building Bridges.
“I haven’t recognized them as equals,” one marcher, Emily Vandyke, 50, told the Salt Lake Tribune. “They have been invisible to me.”
Approximately 60% of Utah residents in 2011 were Mormons.
Erika Munson, founder of Mormons Building Bridges and lifetime member of the Mormon church told the Guardian: “We wanted to invite faithful, practicing Mormons to show their unconditional love and support for the LGBT community.”
The Parade’s Grand Marshal and screenwriter for Milk and Proposition 8, Dustin Lance Black, who was also raised Mormon, tweeted after the Parade saying: “In tears. Over 300 straight, active Mormons showed up to march with me at the Utah Pride parade in support of LGBT people.”
“I think it’s amazing,” Holly Nelson, 38, told the Salt Lake Tribune as she watched, tears in her eyes. “It’s been so hard to be in Utah knowing the Mormon Church is against the gay community.”