Utah County equal marriage rights rally to kick-off Supreme Court hearings

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Utah county residents gathered in front of Utah County’s courthouse on March 25, in peaceful support of marriage equality and gay rights.

Utah county residents gather to rally for marriage equality. (Photo by Samantha Gilbert)
Utah county residents gather to rally for marriage equality. (Photo by Samantha Gilbert)

“We’re a part of an initiative that’s bigger than us,” Curtis Penfold, a BYU student from Divernon, Ill., said. As a heterosexual LDS male who served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Penfold took charge and organized the event for students and citizens to show their support.

Groups of LDS Church members are speaking out in support of marriage equality. Whether it be by BYU students, UVU students or Provo residents, the silence has been broken in rallying support for gay couple rights.

Christopher Allen, an international relations major from Mesa, Ariz., was ecstatic for the event. Ever since high school, Allen has been heavily involved in LGBT and gay-straight alliance groups and clubs. His desire stemmed from having love for those peers who struggled with their sexuality.

“I couldn’t imagine that anyone could bully another person for any reason, but especially for these innocent feelings,” Allen said. “When I see my friends being denied basic rights such as housing, employment, or marriage to a person they love, I can’t sit back.”

Allen and Penfold aren’t the only members of the LDS Church who feel that way. Members of BYU Understanding Same Gender Attraction (USGA) have shown support for those who identify themselves as LDS and homosexual.

Alexis Spanevello, a Provo resident and cosmetologist, showed her support at the rally. Spanevello grew up with religious but artistic parents and has learned to accept everyone for who they are. She considers herself straight but has nothing but love for those who don’t.

“I was raised to be an independent, different woman,” she said. “I’m open to anything.”

Penfold, Spanevello and Allen all agree the heavy population of Latter-day Saints in the community can make it difficult to express one’s feelings on marriage equality. It is as they communicate with different LDS groups that they are able to achieve a different perspective.

“I could never tell my friends I don’t want them to be happy simply because they didn’t follow my religious principles,” Allen said.

As court proceedings continue, those community members for marriage equality will continue to show their support.

For more information on marriage equality activism across the US, visit www.light2justice.org

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