If there are protesters outside of General Conference, they won’t be gay. So say gay groups trying to tamp down Internet rumors of planned mass protest during the April LDS Church meeting.
One gay civil rights organization, the All For One Initiative, is planning an alternative it is calling General Service Weekend, in which volunteers will spread work throughout Salt Lake and Davis counties building handicapped ramps, garding for non-profits and raising money for refugees.
“The LGBT community is not organizing a protest of the LDS General Conference,” Jacob Whipple, organizer of General Service, wrote asking for volunteers “to join in and help give back to society.” Whipple was the organizer of the Temple Square rally that took place in November after Californians passed Proposition 8 that repealed gay marriage in that state.
An e-mail that circulated in recent days and was posted on several blogs said the Salt Lake City police were training for a mass protest outside Temple Square and that several groups had applied for permits to protest during General Conference. BYU NewsNet checked with the SLPD and reported that the only protest permit received was from an LDS group that wanted to sing hymns.
Equality Utah has come out against the idea of a protest of General Conference. Equality is the group that lobbied the Legislature unsuccessfully this year for a package of civil rights bills.
The All For One Initiative worked with the mayors of Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City, as well as several non-profit organizations, to line up service projects for General Service Weekend. Projects include park clean-ups, gardening for Utah Gardens, cleaning trails and visiting refugee families. Organizers of the event additionally are working with bars and clubs to raise money to assist refugees.
A full schedule of events can be found at the All For One Initiative Website.