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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Brigham Young bookstore removes Hallmark greeting cards celebrating same-sex marriages

SALT LAKE CITY - Greeting cards celebrating same-sex marriages turned up at the Brigham Young University bookstore Tuesday.

Placed by Hallmark, the cards reading "Mr. and Mr." and "Mrs. and Mrs." were quickly removed when bookstore staff discovered them after photos surfaced online. The outside vendor stocked the shelves without realizing the school wouldn't want to sell the cards marketed to buyers celebrating unions between two brides and two grooms, BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said.

It wasn't immediately clear when they were placed, but Jenkins said they weren't up long. BYU staffers have spoken with the company about leaving similar cards off university store shelves in the future. The school doesn't plan on ending its contract with Hallmark.

"This was just someone stocking the shelves who wasn't aware," she said. "We've been able to work with them."

Asked why they were removed, Jenkins referenced the BYU honour code. It states that while being attracted to people of the same gender doesn't violate the honour code, acting on those feelings is a violation.

"Homosexual behaviour includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings," it states.

BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has stood behind its belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman despite a growing societal movement in support of legalizing gay marriage.

Calls to Hallmark weren't returned Wednesday.

Samy Galvez, president of the group Understanding Same Gender Attraction (USGA) and a senior at BYU, said changes to the honour code in 2007 and 2010 allowed students to talk about their sexual orientation without fear of being expelled.

Though he declined to comment on the greeting cards, calling it an accident, Galvez said he's generally found a welcoming environment at BYU.

"I was really amazed to see how welcoming and how loving people are," he said. "Even though you know people adhere to a standard of conduct of not advocating for same-sex marriage, at the same time that doesn't mean they aren't capable of showing empathy."

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