Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mormon Church Leaders Call For Legislation Protecting LGBT Rights and Religious Liberty

In a News Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah yesterday, leaders of the Mormon Church called for legislation protecting LGBT rights but also protecting religious freedom. (Full text of news conference.) (Summary of key points.) (Press release.)  Speaking at the news conference were Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Jeffrey R. Holland of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Neill F. Marriott of the Church’s Young Women general presidency. Introducing the news conference, Elder D. Todd Christofferson said:
To those who follow the Church closely and who are familiar with its teachings and positions on various social issues, it will be apparent that we are announcing no change in doctrine or Church teachings today. But we are suggesting a way forward in which those with different views on these complex issues can together seek for solutions that will be fair to everyone.
Oakes said in part:
Accusations of bigotry toward people simply because they are motivated by their religious faith and conscience have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and public debate. 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....
Today, state legislatures across the nation are being asked to strengthen laws related to LGBT issues in the interest of ensuring fair access to housing and employment. The leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on record as favoring such measures. At the same time, we urgently need laws that protect faith communities and individuals against discrimination and retaliation for claiming the core rights of free expression and religious practice that are at the heart of our identity as a nation and our legacy as citizens.
The Salt Lake Tribune has more on the press conference.