June is considered by the LGBTQ community and its allies as Pride Month, and we would like to use this editorial platform to talk openly about the LGBTQ community in Utah Valley and how the county as a whole should be allies to this often marginalized community.
We understand being LGBTQ in Utah County can seem difficult, and we are grateful there is an LGBTQ community in Utah County to begin with it. We want all voices to be a part of Utah Valley, and we hope that no one feels like their voice cannot be included in civic, political and other discussions locally.
We believe Utah County has made strides in acceptance and welcoming of the LGBTQ community. Pleasant Grove is planning to host its first Pride Parade soon with the assistance of the Provo Pride organization. Nathan Ivie came out just a month ago as the first gay Republican Utah County commissioner. Brigham Young University’s valedictorian spoke out during his commencement speech that he was gay and for the most part, he has been widely supported. And more and more organizations are being organized to support and include the LGBTQ community.
But we also know more work can always be done. We know of businesses and individuals who support LGBTQ inclusion have had Pride flags stolen. We know many BYU students live fearfully closeted, afraid of what academic fate may await them if they disclose their sexuality. And we know there are constant concerns and reports of LGBTQ teens being ostracized and disowned by their parents.
Each of these issues can be addressed individually, and we have either reported or opined on many of them. But we believe that many of these concerns could be best advised by some Biblical insight.
In Matthew 22, the Pharisees approached Jesus Christ in an attempt to catch him in a logical argument, by asking what the greatest commandment was. Christ responded that the greatest commandment is to love God, and the second greatest is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” All other commandments hinged upon these two commandments.
It’s no secret that Utah County is a very religious community, with more than 80% of the community belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We as the Daily Herald Editorial Board, which is composed of practicing members of the LDS Church and those who are not of the religion, believe that if the many good, faithful, charitable, faithful members of our community wish to truly follow Christ’s teachings, they must also support and love everyone, including those of the LGBTQ community.
We know no one is perfect. We know people have quarrels and may have ill feelings to others who have wronged them. But we believe that it is discriminatory and frankly malicious to be unkind or uncivil to another based on sexual orientation.
We are not alone in this decree. More and more faith leaders, including authorities in the LDS Church, have expressed support for the LGBTQ community, reminding that God loves everyone, as should we.
We hope that all, including those of the LGBTQ community, feel that Utah County is a place they may call home and can live their lives as they choose. We know that is idealistic. But let’s look at where we’ve been and where we’ve come from.
Many of this year’s Pride celebrations memorialize and recognize the Stonewall Riots of 50 years ago. Members of the LGBTQ community couldn’t even gather for drinks without police raids.
But more recently, four years ago this week in fact, gay marriage was legalized in the U.S. And as previously noted, locally, Pleasant Grove is hosting its first Pride parade this month. This is much better than 50 years ago, if we must say.
The LGBTQ community, and the nation at large, has a lot to be proud of this Pride Month, and we hope for continued progress in acceptance and affirmation of the LGBTQ community.