US: Salt Lake City councillors to boycott Mormon parade over exclusion of gays

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Two members of Salt Lake City council have announced they will not attend a prominent Mormon parade in the city, over the exclusion of gay people.

The annual Days of ’47 Parade is a large event in Utah, to commemorate the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the city.

Council members were initially invited to march in the parade and bring a guest, however when Erin Mendenhall said she would bring her recently-married gay friend, her invitation was changed.

She dropped out of the event after she was told she would only be permitted to bring a family member.

She told the Salt Lake Tribune: “I will not participate in the 2014 Days of ’47 Parade

“It saddens me that the organizers of this parade turn their back on a long tradition of Salt Lake City providing sanctuary and refuge.”

She is joined by openly gay councillor Stan Penfold, who withdraw after pro-gay group Mormons Building Bridges were told they could not take part.

He said: “I’m not boycotting… it just doesn’t sound like a welcoming opportunity.”

Councillor Charlie Luke also declined to attend, objecting to the use of horse-drawn carriages, though the remaining 4 councillors and the Mayor will all attend.

Mormon activist John Dehlin is currently facing excommunication, after calling for the church to accept gay members.

Neon Trees singer Tyler Glenn, who is a Mormon, came out as gay earlier this year, adding that he will never throw his faith away despite “terrible things” said by leaders of the church.