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HRC, Affirmation, and Utah Pride Center to Mormon Apostle: Four Days of Silence

October 7, 2010
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Mormon Leader's Inaccurate, Dangerous Sermon Requires Immediate Correction

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - the nation's largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality - along with Affirmation and the Utah Pride Center, continue to call on Elder Boyd K. Packer, president of the Mormon Church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles to correct the inaccurate and dangerous statements he made Sunday calling same-sex attraction "impure and unnatural," claiming that it can be corrected and characterizing same-sex marriage as immoral. Elder Packer's silence is now in day four. Meanwhile, in the past month there have been a number of suicides across the country of teenagers who were victims of anti-gay bullying. Elder Packer's inaccurate and dangerous comments were in poor taste, and his timing was even worse. Rather than spreading lies, Elder Packer should be expressing the love and support kids across the country so desperately need.

Elder Packer claims sexual orientation can be changed, but science says otherwise. The American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association have both concluded that same-sex attraction is normal and that "reparative" therapy - like the kind being advocated by the Mormon Church - is unhealthy and harmful. In a 2009 report, the American Psychological Association noted that many who seek psychological interventions do so because of distress over the perceived irreconcilability of their sexual orientation and religious beliefs. The authors of the report encourage mental health professionals to be respectful of those religious beliefs and work to help patients "address the reality of their sexual orientation while considering the possibilities for a religiously and spiritually meaningful and rewarding life."

Elder Packer has chosen to ignore science and continue with his misguided belief that sexual orientation can be changed. For the sake of the nation's children, HRC, Affirmation, and the Utah Pride Center call on Elder Packer to correct his statements. When religious leaders speak, kids listen. Now is the time for Elder Packer to embrace all kids, including LGBT kids.

"Elder Packer, please end your silence," HRC President Joe Solmonese said. "We are waiting and the kids are listening. Please let them know they are loved just the way they are."

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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