First Openly Gay Bishop to Address Homophobia in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Soulforce Equality Ride to Press for Dialogue on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Discrimination at Brigham Young University

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: April 4, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Richard Lindsay, Equality Ride Press Liaison
Cell: 646-258-7193 Email: richard@equalityride.com
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The Equality Ride announces a RALLY, PRESS CONFERENCE and DAY OF DIALOGUE at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, featuring speakers and stories of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Latter-day Saints.

Events are planned for Monday April 10 and Tuesday, April 11, beginning at 5:30 PM MDT, Monday and 3 PM MDT Tuesday. Monday’s events include a rally, press conference and dialogue at BYU. Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church will speak, along with Rev. Robyn Murphy, a lesbian excommunicated Latter-day Saint and now UFMCC pastor, along with Jennifer Nuttall, Program Director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Utah.

The rally will take place Monday, April 10th in Kiwanis Park at SE corner of BYU. In addition to the rally at Kiwanis Park in Provo, Equality Riders intend to process onto BYU’s campus from the Temple carrying Easter lilies as a sign of hope and new dialogue about the devastating effects of BYU and LDS opposition to full acceptance of LGBT people. This action may be accepted by the BYU administration or may result in arrest. The school’s expectations have yet to be communicated to the Equality Ride.

Brigham Young University’s student conduct policy prohibits lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students from attending the school. Students who are found to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender face suspension or expulsion, losing valuable educational opportunities and putting their futures at risk.

Beyond this discriminatory policy, the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS has opposed the equality and dignity of LGBT people with particular virulence. Gay and lesbian Mormons are often coerced into heterosexual marriages and dangerous and unproven "reparative therapy" to attempt to change their sexual orientation.

The Soulforce Equality Ride is traveling across the country to foster dialogue at religious and military colleges that ban LGBT enrollment and force students into closets of fear and self-hatred. These bans devalue the lives of LGBT people and slam the door on academic freedom.

During the most shameful moments in American history, religion has been used to justify slavery and segregation, to deny women the vote and to discriminate against non-Christians. Today, it is lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who suffer from religion-based discrimination.

Visits to Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA have resulted in arrests when Equality Riders attempted to enter the campuses to dialogue with students; while other stops such as Oklahoma Baptist University and Abilene Christian University, Riders were welcomed on to campus and fruitful dialogue occurred.

For more information on the Equality Ride stop at Brigham Young University, see: www.equalityride.com/brighamyoung


The goal of Soulforce is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance.

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