For the second successive year, grassroots group Mormons Building Bridges marched in the Salt Lake City Gay Pride parade, making a symbolic show of support from the religious community along with marchers from Unitarian and Episcopalian denominations.
The Rt. Rev. Scott Hayashi, who was bishop of All Saints Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City and Park City’s St. Luke’s, joined in — the first time an Episcopal bishop has taken part in the parade, according to Lee Shaw, a member of the Episcopalian fold.About 400 people from Mormons Building Bridges faced the 80-degree sunshine to march behind a loud Ska band playing on the Downtown Farmers Market float. For about 90 minutes, the parade meandered up 400 East and took a left onto 200 South for six blocks before ending at West Temple.Marching under a banner reading Family Reunion, organizer and founder Erika Munson said the group and others have helped change attitudes in the past year: Bishops no longer excommunicate members who come out, and the Boy Scouts now allow openly gay scouts to participate.The Mormon group drew some of the loudest applause when they passed with signs reading “Love 1 Another,” “LDS heart LGBT” and “God loves all his children.”
The- Salt Lake Tribune.
This weekend, organized contingents of Mormons marched in LGBT pride parades in 8 cities, from New York to Santiago de Chile, marking the high point in an historic season in LDS LGBT history that began with the Mormons Building Bridges Parade in Salt Lake City on June 3.
In Seattle, the Mormons for Marriage Equality contingent counted 55 marchers at the beginning of the Pride parade. As the group made its way down the parade path, an additional 20 Mormons left the sidelines to join, repeating scenes witnessed in Washington, DC, when the parade route became a site for reunions between active Mormons and gay Mormons long estranged from the faith community.
In New York City, 50 gay Mormons and allies marched behind the banner of Affirmation, the nation’s oldest Mormon LGBT group. Some held signs quoting a verse from the Book of Mormon: “All are alike unto God.” Nineteen LDS marchers held the Affirmation banner in Houston, as did an estimated 100 LDS LGBT and allied marchers in Santiago de Chile.
The largest contingent of the weekend gathered in San Francisco, where more than 100 LDS people gathered to march behind the Mormons for Marriage Equality banner, winning the parade’s award for “Absolutely Outrageous” contingent. Mitch Mayne, who is openly gay and holds a leadership position in his San Francisco LDS congregation, offered an opening prayer for the group. “I felt prompted to ask our Father to bless us with the capacity to be ambassadors of His unconditional love,” said Mayne.
-full report by Joanna Brooks at Religion Dispatches