Mormons Participate in Utah Rallies, Oppose Discrimination

Berta Marquez, of Mormon Building Bridges, reminded the crowd that “the Mormon story, in the political history of the United States, has gone from one of persecution to power.”

Berta Marquez, of Mormon Building Bridges, reminded the crowd that “the Mormon story, in the political history of the United States, has gone from one of persecution to power.”

Neca Allgood: “I want to make sure that he and all of my sons are treated fairly under the law”

by Hugo Salinas

With heavy LDS participation, two rallies were held on the steps of the Utah capitol last week in support of a state bill protecting housing and employment for LGBT people.

The sponsor of the bill was Steve Urquhart, a Mormon state senator from St. George.

Mormons for Equality sponsored a rally on Tuesday. BYU professor Steven Goates told the crowd that he has known many students who struggled with their sexual orientation. “A nondiscrimination bill is important,” Goates said. “Christ was condemned by the Pharisees … we ought to love one another.”

“Christ asked us to love and serve those people. And when we serve others, it is like we are serving him,” said Neca Allgood, a Syracuse Sunday School teacher and mother of a transgender son. “I want to make sure that he and all of my sons are treated fairly under the law — that they have access to housing and are judged in their employment on whether they can do the work, not on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

On Wednesday, Mormons Building Bridges, along with representatives from Mormons for Equality and a broad coalition of civil and religious groups held a second rally. Erika Munson, founder of Mormons Building Bridges, said they would work within their wards to encourage support for a nondiscrimination bill.

“Where we talk is person to person in our congregations, and we want to keep those conversations going,” Munson said. “That’s where I think hearts really get changed and this can start.”

Berta Marquez, a lesbian Latina Mormon woman, reminded the crowd that “the Mormon story, in the political history of the United States, has gone from one of persecution to power.”

“We believe that it is our very faith and doctrine that urge us to build a Zion people,” Marquez said, “the Beloved Community where there are no more foreigners or strangers among us and all are alike unto God.”

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