nighty night Boyd
nighty night Boyd
Black figures surrounded Temple Square Thursday night, protesting remarks by Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, concerning homosexuality.
Eric Ethington, the founder of Pride in Utah, started organizing the protest last Sunday, the day Packer spoke at the LDS Church's Semiannual General Conference. The protest was announced Monday morning, Ethington said.
The protest started at about 7 p.m., drawing about 4,500 people, organizers said. The group, all clothed in black-to honor gays who have committed suicide- started in City Creek Park and began flooding State Street, crossing over to the Church Office Building and surrounding Temple Square.
Salt Lake City Police closed off the section of State Street so that protesters could cross. Police were stationed at every corner and entrance to ensure the protest was kept peaceful and non-violent.
The entire perimeter of Temple Square was encircled with the protesters by 7: 30 p.m.
"When I saw there was an invite to this protest, I jumped on it," said Miaka Hole, a protester. "To be able to support others with the support that I never had, but that I'm getting now, and just to see how many people are here,-it's phenomenal."
Much controversy was sparked by Packer's speech when he said that homosexuality is a behavior that was immoral and could be changed.
"I was happy to see the protest," said Luke McFarland, a protester and former member of the LDS Church. "(Packer's remarks are) so contrary to what science actually says."
The news of the speech has been coupled by some with the recent death of Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, who committed suicide after his sexual encounter with another man was streamed online by a roommate.
"In light of the recent events of homosexuals killing themselves, his comments really struck me," said Lauren Kimball, a protester who came with a group of friends. "They're encouraging that kind of behavior and bullying, so that's why I'm out here."
Kimball was a student at BYU, but will soon be transferring to the U, she said.
For others, the events struck close to home.
"I've lost 10 of my friends this year," said Kristina Bergstrom, a protester.
Some of the protesters were members or former members of the LDS Church, but disagreed with Packer's message.
"It didn't really sit right with me, because I think we should accept everyone for who they are and I don't think it's a choice," said Megan Parker, a protester and a Mormon.
This is not about freedom of religion, Ethington said.
"While we respect the right of Boyd Packer to say what he said, there are consequences to his words," he said.