Four years ago, as hundreds of thousands marched in San Francisco’s Pride Parade, hundreds of LDS bishops stood at pulpits asking Mormons to do all they could to support Proposition 8. Four years later, hundreds of Mormons across the country (and around the world) are stepping out in pride parades in support of and in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
What else has changed in the past four years?
- The Church Handbook of Instructions no longer includes a request that church members should lobby governments to deny same-sex marriage rights (and rites) via legislative actions.
- LDS rhetoric about same-sex marriage rights is shifting to focus on the need to protect religious freedom, rather than the need to protect families.
- The LDS Public Affairs office actually used the term “gay” to describe individuals, rather than-sex attracted or same-gender attracted in its response to HRC’s criticisms of Pres. Packer’s October 2010 conference talk.
- Dialogue, a Journal of Mormon Thought published a paper (Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology) exploring what it means to be both homosexual and Mormon.
- The LDS Church came out in support of non-discrimination ordinances in Salt Lake City which would protect homosexuals in housing and employment. While there are large carve-outs for church-related/owned businesses, the ordinances in SLC inspired a number of other Utah and Idaho towns and cities to follow suit and opened many conservative Mormon’s eyes to some problems they’d never before considered.
- Individual Mormons are coming out and telling their own stories - whether they are gay, lesbian, bi, in mixed-orientation marriages, or have family/friends that fit the bill. These discussions are happening on a daily basis in person, in the media, in churches and online as LGBTQ members and allies find one another and give each other strength to carry on, both in and out of the church.
- The Family Acceptance Project (FAP) has published a booklet specifically for LDS parents based on FAP’s foundational research on family acceptance and rejection that provides guidance on acceptance and support of their gay children.
- There have been no church-sponsored efforts aimed at mobilizing Mormons to fight same-sex marriage at the polls the way Mormons were mobilized in California in 2008, despite efforts of other religions originally part of the “religious coalition” that supported Prop 8. General church leaders have gone out of their way to make sure all overt same-sex marriage advocacy is being done by local leaders or individuals.
Do we still have a ways to go? Yes, we do. But we are making progress, one step at a time.