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Utah State lights rainbow display to support students at BYU

April 14, 2021 GMT

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Students at Utah State University illuminated the base of the campus’ iconic Old Main building in Logan with rainbow lights on Tuesday in support of LGBTQ students at Brigham Young University in Provo.

The colorful display mimicked the lighting on the “Y” on a mountain overlooking Brigham Young last month that was in support of students being welcomed at the private, religious school, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Utah State Inclusion Center intern Cameron Moellendorf said students wanted to light up their campus in the same way to show “our BYU family that we’re here for them and we saw them.”

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“We commend them for what they did,” Moellendorf said. “And we’re supporting them here from Logan.”

Moellendorf said about 200 students participated in the lighting.

“Being in Utah and with the demographics we have, each university has different challenges for LGBTQ students,” Moellendorf said, noting that Utah State has community acceptance. “But the BYU students are probably facing it the hardest.”

Brigham Young University, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sent a letter in March 2020 that said “same-sex romantic behavior” was prohibited and would lead to discipline under the school code. It previously deleted the words “homosexual behavior” from the school’s honor code.

The code prohibited sexual activity outside of marriage, but same-sex couples publicly lauded the code change and shared pictures of themselves holding hands and kissing their partners. Church leaders a month later clarified the change in a statement, saying any “same-sex romance” was a violation of the code.

Bradley Talbot, a gay student at Brigham Young who organized the event on the campus, said it wasn’t a protest but was meant to send a message. He said he wanted the school to recognize that LGBTQ students exist, and they should be loved and welcomed.

Talbot on Tuesday thanked Utah State’s queer student association and inclusion center for putting on the solidarity event as Brigham Young students continue to push for change.

“It’s just amazing,” Talbot said. “That was the whole purpose behind what we did. And we appreciate them saying, ‘We stand with you and we will be with you no matter what.’”