Hundreds of Mormons Skip Church to March in SLC Pride Parade

Bianca Morrison Dillard and her husband are devout Latter-Day Saints: “My husband and I teach primary in our local ward and I grew up LDS and it’s always been something that’s been very important to me.”

But Sunday, Morrison Dillard and her husband had to excuse themselves from church to participate in what she calls an important act of discipleship: walking in the 2012 Pride Parade.

“I guess the reason that I got involved wasn’t because of a close friend of a family member; it was a spiritual feeling that the point of the gospel is love. If we are not showing love to all of God’s children then we are doing something wrong.”

The message was so important to Katrina Anderson that instead of church on Sunday she and her husband opted for a real life lesson in equality by taking their five kids to walk in the parade, all of them holding rainbow flags.

“This is more important than church. This is more important than showing up and sitting in a pew. We just wanted to teach our kids that tolerance and love is the most important thing.”

An estimated 300 Latter-Day Saints walked in Sunday’s Parade. Kendall Wilcox, an openly gay Mormon and executive producer of Far Between, a documentary about his own story, says Sunday’s event is only the beginning of a movement that will help narrow the gap between the two groups.

“People are coming are coming forward and saying they realize that their silent acquiescence in the past--even though they mean well as Mormons--they are realizing that they can’t be silent because gay Mormons are leaving the church or killing themselves. They are realizing that their silence is complicit in some of that.”

Wilcox says the Mormons Building Bridges group is going to be using more social media to get its message out. They will also be urging more families to march in the parade next year.