HRC & Utah Leaders Deliver 150K Petitions to Mormon Church
October 12, 2010
Today the Human Rights Campaign-- in partnership with Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, Equality Utah, and the Utah Pride Center -- delivered 150,000 petitions to respectfully ask Elder Boyd K. Packer, president of the Mormon Church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles, to correct his inaccurate and dangerous statements calling same-sex attraction “impure and unnatural,” claiming that it can be corrected and characterizing same-sex marriage as immoral. The delivery comes as over the past month, a number of teenagers across the country have taken their own lives as a result of anti-gay bullying. At a press conference HRC President Joe Solmonese said, “We’re here today to tell Elder Packer and those in the Mormon Church hierarchy who agree with him that his statements are both factually and scientifically wrong and that more importantly, they are dangerous and are putting millions of lives in great danger." Elder Packer’s assertion that sexual orientation can be changed has been debunked by both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association. Both organizations have concluded that same-sex attraction is normal and that “reparative” therapy – like the kind being advocated by the Mormon Church – is unhealthy and harmful.
Elder Packer or Church representatives have not corrected their statements in spite of the fact that they are dangerous and can result in self-loathing and potentially suicide by those struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. “I am personally and professionally concerned that Elder Packer’s statements can be viewed as stigmatizations towards non-heterosexual oriented individuals and groups, and consequently reinforce or possibly increase further discrimination, hostility, or even violence towards non-heterosexual oriented individuals and groups.” said licensed Utah psychologist Kirk Dansie, who also reiterated the professional scholarship that debunks Elder Packer’s claims. The full text of Dansie’s remarks follow. Also appearing at the event were Utah philanthropist Bruce Bastian, Affirmation President David Melson, Equality Utah Executive Director Brandie Balken, Utah Clinical Social Worker Melissa Bird and Utah Pride Center Executive Director Valerie Larabee. We'll have more photos and video later from the event still going on right now.
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