Utah Latter-day Saints advocate
BYU Law School’s Conflict Resolution Center continues the Respect + Rebellion speaker series at Brigham Young with a conversation like few others you’ve heard. Gay rights and religious liberty have been pitted together in what has felt, to many, like an inescapable, zero-sum fight. But what if it isn’t?
Meet Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, a queer minister with a passion for helping LGBT youth, and Derek Monson, a leader of Utah’s most conservative advocacy organizations — who have a “relationship blessed by difference.” Marian and Derek together dove into this thorny and angry debate, forming an unlikely and deep friendship along the way. They’ve worked together to craft legislation in Utah, written together to suggest a path forward, touched base when they’re having a hard time understanding “the other side,” and kept each other’s crazy ideas in check. You know, a real relationship. These subversive friends are holding a lantern up for the rest of us to follow along.
As part of their work together, Derek and Marian have co-authored a series of op-eds on decisive issues (like Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission). Derek admits, “We both have crazy ideas from time to time that the other one has to put the brakes on, but even in doing that we build trust in one another and help each other work through what possibilities may exist to make a difference and have an impact.” And Marian adds, “When I puzzle over a conservative position, I either ask Derek what he thinks, or I imagine, ‘What would Derek say?’ He’s a good guy, even with the Y hat on. We always end up talking for hours and are late for our next meetings.”
Meet Marian and Derek and read more about their subversive friendship story here.