In Sunday's Salt Lake Tribune, EriKa Munson, Mormon mother and co-founder of the group Mormons Building Bridges, which seeks to build dialogue between the Mormon community and the LGBT community, maintains that the World Congress of Families, which plans to meet in Salt Lake a year from now, should not meet in a city that houses the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because "[w]elcoming an organization to our state that has worked relentlessly to identify LGBT people as 'the other' is not in harmony with the Utah values I cherish."
The heart of Munson's statement:
But, upon closer examination, The World Congress of Families promotes attitudes and policies that many Utahns would find troubling.
The term "natural family," coined by the WCF sounds appealing, but it is in fact a way for the organization to apply the universal respect and protection that should be accorded all families to a select few. These WCF families are based strictly on heterosexual unions, and the resulting biological children that proceed from them. This "natural family" they argue, is threatened by any other family unit that does not meet their criteria. Chief among these threats are LGBT/same-sex attracted people. According to Mr. Jacobs [i.e., Larry Jacobs, WCF's managing director], homosexuality is a "disease" which threatens the very future of the human race.
This emotional attempt by the WCF to divide one family from another and promote fear among friends and neighbors is sad and dangerous. Is this representative of how we think here?
As Munson goes on to note, though the LDS church continues to oppose same-sex marriage, it also has made official statements in recent years calling on Mormons to welcome and respect those who are gay, and to refrain from judging them. She wonders how to reconcile those Mormon values with the attempt of WCF to engineer legislation in Africa and Russia that would criminalize gay people and gay lives and make these people subject to violence.
And she's correct to ask these questions, it seems to me.
The photo of EriKa Munson is from the TEDx Sandy website.