This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Several years ago, Brigham Young University wisely changed its Honor Code to allow gays and lesbians to enroll, provided they hew to their LDS faith, remain chaste and don't advocate homosexual behavior.
Now, though, the very idea of a forum that would explore how LGBT students can do just that has awakened the wrath of an anti-gay website called Standard of Liberty, a husband-and-wife, "LDS-oriented" operation in Pleasant Grove.
So a revered institution that makes a small but important change in how it deals with diversity becomes the target of misinformed and self-righteous Mormons who call out the LDS Church and claim that one day there will be gay temple marriages.
In essence, these people view homosexuality as depravity, believe that unwitting innocents can be recruited, and that they are mentally and physically ill, lustful, sinful and will die young. But wait, they can be cured through so-called "reparative therapy," which has long been dismissed by professionals as quackery.
Billed as "everything you wanted to know about being gay at BYU but were too afraid to ask," the April 4 forum is sponsored by BYU's sociology department in coordination with a few sociology and psychology classes.
The essence of those disciplines is to explore society and the individuals who live in it. It opens windows to understanding how we engage each other, how we cope with disruption, how we share and protect relationships. With luck, students learn empathy for people who are not like them in social status, race, ethnicity or sexuality.
But Standard of Liberty contends the change in the Honor Code was a mistake.
"The question is, how can homosexuality be all right in principle, as in homosexual attraction, but wrong in practice, as in homosexual behavior?" it asks. "If we concede that it is right in principle, isn't the next step to accept the practice, even celebrate it? Mustn't we?"
That, they say, would be a surrender to "sycophantic political correctness of the day."
But it's to the LDS Church's credit that it has made progress when it comes to the LGBT community. A few years ago, church representatives sat down for private talks with gays and lesbians; from that came its endorsement of city ordinances banning job and housing discrimination.
Standard of Liberty, run by Stephen and Janice Graham, is nothing but a model for intolerance and relentless condemnation swathed in piety.
Peg McEntee is a news columnist. Reach her at email@example.com, facebook.com/pegmcentee and Twitter, @pegmcentee.