Gay and lesbian students at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, have attracted a great deal of attention with their "It Gets Better" campaign video. The YouTube clip, which has been viewed nearly 319,000 times, provides insight into the stories -- and plight -- many of the young people depicted in it have faced.
Following the video's publication, a BYU administrator is claiming, despite LDS's overt disagreement with homosexuality activity, that the students are not in obvious violation of the school's honor code. CNN has more:
The students featured in a video about being gay at Brigham Young University are not in obvious violation of the honor code, according to Carri Jenkins, an assistant to the president of BYU.
Jenkins went on to say that for the video alone, the students would not be punished. The honor code, Jenkins said, is “based on conduct, not on feeling, and if same-gender attraction is only stated, that is not an honor code issue.”
BYU, a private university that is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has strict regulations for its student body. Upon enrolling, students must sign an honor code, which restricts premarital sex, alcohol and tobacco use and the abuse of illegal substances, among other elements.
The BYU Undergraduate Catalogue provides direct text regarding how homosexuality and related activities should be handled by students:
Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or attraction and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards. Members of the university community can remain in good Honor Code standing if they conduct their lives in a manner consistent with gospel principles and the Honor Code.
One's stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity. Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.
Based on these words, Jenkins seems to be correct in her assessment that the students involved in the video are not in violation of the honor code. A description under the YouTube clip reads:
A message of hope and love to LGBT Mormon youth from the students of USGA (Understanding Same-Gender Attraction) which is an unofficial group of Brigham Young University students, faculty, and friends who wish to strengthen families and the BYU community by providing a place for open, respectful discussions on the topic of same-gender attraction.
Nowhere in the description is physical action mentioned.
Below, watch the nearly 10-minute video in its entirety:
The video is being widely seen as a sign that LDS is more open to discussions surrounding the controversial and complex issue of homosexuality. Jensen, who is running the unrecognized campus group Understanding Same-Gender Attraction, believes that the video will help people who are struggling and who need to hear that "it gets better."
"It is very different to be gay and Mormon because it feels like neither community accepts you completely," said Bridey Jensen. "We put out the message for youth that are going through this and we want them to know that we were them a few years ago and it gets better and there is a place for you."
(H/T: CNN Belief Blog)