The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced this morning (Tuesday, Jan. 27) at a press conference its support of a bill in the Utah legislature barring discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The LDS Church also announced it backs a bill that affirms an individual’s right to refuse a same-sex marriage if that individually objects on religious grounds.
According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, the move is major milestone for Utah’s LGBT community. The nondiscrimination measure is likely to pass with the Church’s backing.
“We call on local, state and the federal government,” said Elder Dallin Oaks in a news release, “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.”
The LDS Church previously backed a similar ordinance barring discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity in Salt Lake City in 2009. The measure ultimately passed.
Still the Church’s support of the religious liberty bill reaffirmed its belief that same-sex sexual relations are contrary to their religious beliefs.
Oaks reiterated the Church’s position. He lamented “the steady erosion of treasured [religious] freedoms that are guaranteed in the United States Constitution.”