Group plans LDS conference weekend memorial to gay suicides

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During the LDS Church's semiannual conference this weekend, one group will hold a memorial service for gay and transgender Mormons who have committed suicide.

The Foundation for Reconciliation, a group working to foster greater understanding between the church and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population, will highlight the plight of some Mormons who have felt despair -- in some instances, to the point of ending their own lives -- over LDS teachings that being in a gay relationship is sinful. The service is Sunday at 7 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church, 569 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City.

The foundation, in a news release, said it wanted to call attention to the issue in light of the LDS Church's 2008 support for the gay marriage ban in California, the July detention of a gay couple who kissed on the church's Main Street Plaza and a September speech given by LDS general authority Bruce C. Hafen denying a biological link to homosexuality.

On Nov. 4, the one-year anniversary of California's passage of Proposition 8 outlawing gay marriage in the Golden State, the group plans to deliver, by handcart, its "Plea for Reconciliation" petition to LDS headquarters. The group is gathering signatures online, at

The foundation also reports that it has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday with Gov. Gary Herbert to discuss potential legal protections for gay and transgender Utahns.

Rosemary Winters