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Hundreds gather to ask Utah governor to stop same-sex marriage appeal

Rally » “It felt like fireworks bursting in my heart,” Utah boy says of moms’ marriage.

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"We’re most concerned about second-parent adoption so our family is more secure," said Geary, 64, who wants legal recognition as the parent of the 55-year-old Page’s adopted daughter and son. They also married in California.

"It’s either legal or it’s not," she said.

At a glance

LDS Church issues strong directive to lay leaders

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued its strongest statement yet on the same-sex marriage situation in Utah, reminding its lay leaders across the country that they may not perform marriages or allow them to take place on church property.

The two-page statement asked congregational leaders to share the message from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles with members “in appropriate settings.”

The LDS Church quoted a passage from Genesis about marriage and reproduction, which it said illustrated that marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and “central to his plan for his children and for the well-being of society.”

“Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established,” the statement said. “God expects us to uphold and keep his commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society.”

It said the contentious situation calls for civility on both sides while the lawsuit proceeds through court.

Brooke Adams

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Derek Kitchen, who with partner Moudi Sbeity are plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging Utah’s ban, said he believes public opinion has changed in the decade since 66 percent of Utahns who participated in the 2004 election approved a gay marriage ban.

"It was good for Utah when Judge Shelby struck down Amendment 3," Kitchen said. "As a fan of small government, I’m sure you understand our frustration with the government meddling in our lives."

Fighting the decision "is too expensive" and "hurts too many families," he said.

Sbeity said that like Herbert, he loves "my family, but unlike you, Gary, I cannot exercise my constitutional rights with the family that I love."

Billie Christiansen of Millcreek came to Friday’s rally to show support for "all those I love, to help get them the civil rights that they deserve."

Christiansen said her son came out when he was 17, which led to many "difficult" conversations and eventually was a primary reason in her decision to leave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"I knew he was the most wonderful, generous person and that there couldn’t be anything wrong with him," said Christiansen, who claims as "extra sons" many other young men whose families have been less accepting. "He has made my life absolutely beautiful."

Pamela Johanson of Ogden came holding a sign saying, "This Mormon supports marriage equality."

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"I think everyone has the right to choose for themselves the path that makes them happy," said Johanson, who said she’s had fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints both support and disagree with her, but she’s seen a shift in attitudes in the past two years.

"Who am I to tell people they can’t get married?" she said. "I was married in the temple, and my husband didn’t want to be married anymore after 19 years."

Megan and Candice Berrett, both school teachers, said they plan on having more children. They want others to see "families can be like we are, and not to be scared of us or disgusted by us," Candice Berrett said.

"Times are changing and public opinion is leaning in our favor, so give it a push," Candice Berrett said.


Twitter: @Brooke4Trib


Twitter: @lwhitehurst

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