The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — or, the Mormon Church, as they’re more commonly known — issued an official statement today endorsing laws that would protect LGTBQ individuals from discrimination, KSTU (Salt Lake City) is reporting.
In a rare and — some would say — bold move, the LDS Church convened a press conference today in Salt Lake City to announce the Church’s position on anti-LGBTQ discrimination laws. Three high-profile LDS Church officials (called “apostles”), as well as a female church official appointed to represent women in the Church’s upper echelon, held the conference. Elder Dallin Oaks explained the Church’s position via the Salt Lake Tribune.
“We call on local, state and the federal government to serve all of their people by passing legislation that protects vital religious freedoms for individuals, families, churches and other faith groups while also protecting the rights of our LGBT citizens in such areas as housing, employment and public accommodation in hotels, restaurants and transportation — protections which are not available in many parts of the country.”
However, the call to respect LGBTQ rights in employment, housing, and public transportation was also met with a call for the rights of individuals to express their faith to be respected.
“When religious people are publicly intimidated, retaliated against, forced from employment or made to suffer personal loss because they have raised their voice in the public square, donated to a cause or participated in an election, our democracy is the loser. Such tactics are every bit as wrong as denying access to employment, housing or public services because of race or gender.”
Without naming any specifics, the LDS leader made oblique reference to several high-profile cases of religious individuals being “attacked” for exercising their religious freedom. A few examples are below.
- In 2014, the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, was forced to step down from his position after news leaked that he had donated money to California’s gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, according to this Inquisitr report.
- In 2008, a Mormon gymnast was pressured to step down as an Olympic liaison because he had also supported Proposition 8.
The anti-discrimination stance offered by the LDS Church does not, however, in any way affect the Church’s steadfast opposition to gay marriage. Calling gay marriage “contrary to the laws of God,” the LDS Church will neither sanction gay marriage within its church, nor will it back off of opposition to laws allowing gay marriage.
Do you believe the LDS Church is moving in the right direction by supporting LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image courtesy of: J Seth Anderson]