Name of new Weber State family center drawing controversy

Posted at 5:46 PM, May 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-30 20:54:16-04

OGDEN, Utah - Utahns are having mixed reactions about the name on a family center at Weber State University.

The new family center is named after Boyd K. Packer, the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Many Mormons revere Packer for his writing about and defense of the traditional definition of a family.

But some members of Utah's LGBT community are speaking out against the name because Packer is the LDS apostle most outspoken against the gay lifestyle.

In October 2010, Packer spoke at LDS General Conference about homosexuality, a talk that drew protests.

"Some supposed they were preset and cannot overcome inborn tendencies towards the impure and unnatural. Not so," Packer said.

Weber State University officials, though, say they stand by their decision to name the building after Packer.

"We recognize that there are people in the community who disagree with this decision but we didn't take this decision lightly, and, having made this decision, we stand by it," said John Kowalewski, director of communications for Weber State University.

Ogden Outreach, a non-profit LGBT support group, does not oppose the name. They say it gives the school an opportunity to continue to be inclusive of homosexuals and families under the Packer name.

"I'm a little apprehensive. I want everyone to know that Weber State is very inclusive. We have a great center for diversity. Every student is welcome on our campus," said Jackson Carter with Ogden Outreach.

The university spoke with the Packer family when they named the center, and reportedly discussed the fact that the family center would reflect views Packer may disagree with.