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2nd Day Of Gay Arrests At BYU

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2nd Day Of Gay Arrests At BYU

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

April 11, 2006 - 7:00 pm ET

(Provo, Utah) Twenty-four people were arrested at a gay "die-in" Tuesday afternoon at Brigham Young University in Provo - the second day gay demonstrators from the Soulforce Equality Ride were arrested at the Mormon school.

The Equality Ride is a 51 day cross-country trip organized by the nondenominational Soulforce to draw attention to schools that bar gay enrolment.

Tuesday members of the organization, called riders, and local supporters marched from the Provo temple of the Church of Latter Day Saints to the BYU campus.

When they reached the school a group of 24 entered the campus and carrying Easter lilies walked to the steps of the administration building where they fell to the ground in a "die-in" to symbolize gay Mormons who have taken their own lives over what the riders said was anti-gay bias fostered by the church.

“The lilies are symbolic of both life and death,” said Haven Herrin, Equality Ride co-director.

“It’s particularly fitting during the Christian Holy Week that we remember those whose lives were not able to bloom because of the despair they felt from their church’s teachings on homosexuality.”

One by one the 24 were arrested and charged with trespassing. They were issued summons and released.

Fifteen of the 24 were Equality riders. The others were current or former BYU students.

Monday five people were arrested on the campus when they attempted to hold a rally in support of LGBT civil rights. (story)

Brigham Young University’s student conduct policy prohibits LGBT students from attending the school. Students who are found to be LGBT face suspension or expulsion.

In addition to this policy, the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints has opposed the equality and dignity of LGBT people, in church and in society, "with particular virulence" the Equality Ride said in a statement.

"Gay and lesbian Mormons are often coerced into heterosexual marriages and dangerous and unproven “reparative therapy” to attempt to change their sexual orientation. Despair caused by church policies has led to a high suicide rate among LGBT Mormons."

The Equality Ride began last month in Washington D.C.. Riders have been arrested at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma (story); Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia (story) which is affiliated with Christian Broadcaster Pat Robertson; and at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. (story)

©365Gay.com 2006

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