SALT LAKE CITY (CBS Local) — Brigham Young University says “same-sex romantic behavior” is still not allowed on campus, shattering the hopes of LGTBQ students who thought they could be more open after changes to the Honor Code last month.
But on Wednesday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the university, poured cold water on their celebrations after it clarified that same-sex romantic behavior is still “not compatible” with BYU’s principles.
“The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code,” wrote Paul V. Johnson, Commissioner of the Church Educational System. “Same-sex behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles included in the Honor Code.”
Today this letter from Elder Paul V. Johnson, Commissioner of the Church Educational System, regarding the updated Honor Code was sent to students and employees at all CES schools. pic.twitter.com/sADljd8lQT
— BYU (@BYU) March 4, 2020
Hundreds of students met in the campus quad Wednesday afternoon to protest the letter, holding signs such as “Jesus said love everyone,” The Salt Lake Tribune reported, and chanting “Let all students date.”
BYU students chanting “Let all students date!” We love to see it 🏳️🌈 Happy to see so many allies supporting our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters pic.twitter.com/cQUqHzNuIE
— Amy Franco (@_amycita) March 4, 2020
The section on “homosexual behavior” was removed from the Honor Code to “create a single standard for all CES institutions that is consistent with the recently released General Handbook of the Church,” Kevin Utt, director of the Honor Code Office, wrote in a post on the school’s website.
The code had previously prohibited “all forms of physical intimacy that gives expression to homosexual feelings,” CNN reported. If same-sex couples were seen hugging, holding hands, kissing or dating in public, they’d risk an investigation by the feared Honor Code Office, as well as punishment at their church or expulsion from school.