Kate Kelly

American feminist

Kathleen Marie Kelly (born 1980/1981) is an American feminist, activist, human rights lawyer, and Mormon feminist who in 2013 founded Ordain Women and was excommunicated from the LDS (Mormon) Church in 2014

Kate Kelly (feminist) in 2014


  • On Sunday, I will be tried in absentia for apostasy by the leaders of my former congregation in the Mormon church... for the simple act of opening my mouth and starting a conversation about gender equality in the church and the deep roots of this institutional inequality. My grave situation is another example of how silencing women has long been a top communications priority for patriarchical institutions, both literally and figuratively. In the Mormon church, all positions of authority and leadership require ordination to the priesthood – and no women can be ordained, though the vast majority of male members, age 12 and up, are. This means that no women can lead any official rites and ceremonies, despite the fact that there is no specific Mormon church doctrine explaining why women are not ordained...
  • Being silenced this way feels as though a physical gag has been placed in my mouth each Sunday, and the pain of knowing my feelings and ideas are unwelcome is sharp. I am deeply saddened that my beloved church is considering forcibly ejecting me for living out what I was taught in a primary song as a child: "do what is right, let the consequence follow"... In fact, Mormon doctrine teaches that we have Heavenly Parents: Mother and Father... Knowing that our Heavenly Parents are both male and female teaches me that our potential as women is limitless... To remain relevant in today's world, religious institutions will thrive by tackling tough questions of gender equality, engaging with concerned women and helping move us all forward, together. We will be reverent and we will be respectful – but we will not be silenced.
  • I couldn’t really read all the words because I was crying and sobbing, but my eyes focused on, 'We have chosen to excommunicate you.' I guess I'm a delusional optimist because to the end I thought they would do the right thing.... It's not that I won't abandon my cause. I can't. The church that has excommunicated me has taught me to live with integrity... They're asking me to go to church every Sunday and pretend I don't think there are problems with gender equality... I think it's a hideously painful blow to any woman has ever looked around her and recognized the plain and simple truth that men and women are not equal in our church.
  • Twenty-six U.S. states, including Utah in Article IV, §1, and the majority of countries around the world, formally protect women in their respective constitutions. The U.S. Constitution does not. The lasting need for the ERA is more clear now than ever. Women have no anchor in the U.S. Constitution. Currently, when the U.S. Supreme Court reviews a case under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, laws that discriminate on the basis of gender do not get the highest level of protection that other classes do, like race or religion. In effect, this means it’s easier to pass and keep sex discriminatory laws on the books. Laws we rely on to protect us, like Title IX and Title VII, are on the chopping block. Ratifying the ERA would finally place women’s rights permanently in the U.S. Constitution at the highest level, and will help protect all marginalized genders and families.
  • The ERA is just another way of stating the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We can amend the U.S. Constitution to match Utah’s own and affirm gender equality as an American value once and for all. Let’s beat out the other states, make Utah the 38th and final ratification needed, and again take our place on the right side of history.


  • The founder of a Mormon women's group who was accused of undermining church teachings was excommunicated Monday by an all-male panel of judges who said she can only return if she abandons her cause... Kelly is a lawyer and a co-founder of Ordain Women, an organization that wants equal standing for women in Mormon church, which reserves its top leadership positions for men and does not permit female lay clergy... The bishop informed her that the excommunication — one of the highest-profile cases in the church in years — would last for at least a year and be lifted only if she showed "true repentance" and gave up her activism... Kelly, who chose not to appear at the disciplinary hearing, said that while it was a "tragic day," she would not be silenced. She said she plans to appeal, but is not hopeful because the church leader who would consider her case is the same person who initiated the excommunication process against her.

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