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HRC to Mormon Apostle: Three Days and Still No Correction

October 6, 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 - continues 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. Unless Elder Packer or the Mormon Church's hierarchy corrects these inaccurate statements immediately, individuals will interpret them to mean that the church condones discrimination or harassment against LGBT people and others struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identify could rationalize the statements to continue their self-loathing or bring harm to themselves.

Here are the facts: 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."

Packer's statements are not only in stark contrast of the APA's report, but come during a month marked by the suicides of a number of teenagers who were victims of anti-gay bullying and harassment. In addition, over the past year, seven teens committed suicide in one Minnesota school district alone three of the teens' suicides were connected to anti-gay bullying. According to a 2009 study in the medical journal Pediatrics, telling teenagers they can change their sexual orientation increases the likelihood the youth may commit suicide, suffer depression, abuse drugs, or have unprotected sex.

"Elder Packer, we respectfully ask you to correct your statements," HRC President Joe Solmonese said. "Your inaccurate statements have the potential to destroy lives and must be corrected. We call on you to acknowledge the scientific body of work on these issues and recognize the great dignity in all human beings."

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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