A group of 400 Mormon allies of the LGBT community was cheered by tens of thousands of spectators at yesterday’s Utah Pride Parade in Salt Lake City.
Members of the Mormons Building Bridges group marched with placards marked with their family names in line with the group’s 2013 theme of Family Reunion.
One family who marched had four different generations of their family present from great-grandmother down to great-granddaughter.
It was only the second time that heterosexual Mormon allies had marched in the parade, with 300 marching last year, and many onlookers described being moved to tears by the marchers.
‘As your group marched the tears welled up in my eyes,’ Heath McDougal posted on the group’s Facebook page.
‘As I read the signs people had supporting family and friends, tears continued to flow. My 14 year old said "Dad you’re crying!" Yes I was. Later we went to a friends house and he discussed Mormons Building Bridges.’
‘I knew what he was going to say, that he had also cried. Sure enough the words rolled right off his tongue. Of course my daughter piped up and said, "My dad was crying too." Thank you for touching my heart today, and thank you all for the love and support that was shown, and felt today! The love felt so much better than hate and animosity.’
Jose Arche described a similar experience.
‘Seeing this group march in the pride parade made me smile, but it wasn’t until they stopped for a few moments, right in front of where my partner and I were standing, that tears started to well up in my eyes,’ Arche wrote.
‘It was the last couple in the group, The Henderson Family as it said on the poster they were holding, that made me feel so emotional. I’m not sure why. They waved and smiled just like everyone else did. They didn’t yell or draw my attention with an oversized poster with a witty quote. They simply held a small orange poster that read, "The Henderson Family supports the LGBT Community.”’
This year’s Utah Pride also saw boy scouts and scouting volunteers march for the first time despite having been warned they were banned from doing so in their uniforms.
Some opted to wear their normal clothes and hold signage indicating they were scouts who were welcoming of LGBTs but a group of around a dozen decided to march in uniform.
Former scoutmaster Dave McGrath told Fox News why he had decided to march.
‘Scouts have a duty to this nation,’ McGrath told Fox News. ‘My duty is clear. I stand with all Americans – some of us are gay.’
The leadership of the Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America told Fox News that the scouts who marched in uniform will not be kicked out of the organization but it is unclear whether they will be disciplined in other ways.
The Mormon Church, also known as the Church of Latter Day Saints, took the unexpected move of backing the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow gay teens to join the organization earlier this year.