A gay religious leader isn't usually big news in San Francisco. Though the new executive secretary at Bay Ward, a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregation in San Francisco, is making national headlines: he's openly gay.
Mitch Mayne was named executive secretary to the 950-member Mormon church's bishop on Aug. 14, according to the San Francisco Examiner. He has been specifically tasked with building bridges between the city's LGBT and Mormon communities -- a tall order considering the LDS Church was a key sponsor of Proposition 8, the ballot measure that in 2008 made same-sex marriage illegal in California.
Mayne, who supports same-sex marriage, said he is one of many gay Mormons who struggled with their faith when the LDS church backed the measure. During the height of the debate, Mayne said he had been in a long-term relationship, according to the newspaper.
“As a gay man, watching my Mormon brothers and sisters advocate something that kept me from marrying the person I loved was difficult,” he told the Examiner.
Mayne says he is not out to change Mormon law, which does not recognize same-sex marriage and does not permit sex until marriage. That may be a tough sell to many in the Castro, one of the neighborhoods served by the church, where "all are welcome," Mayne stressed.
Leadership at the LDS's headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, declined to comment.