LDS Church announces support for Respect for Marriage Act with religious freedom amendments

Salt Lake City Temple. File photo: Intellectual Reserve Inc.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 15, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued a statement of support for the federal Respect for Marriage Act, saying proposed amendments include “appropriate religious freedom protections.”

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote this week on legislation that would require the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals — regardless of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin — if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.

States would not be required to issue a marriage license contrary to state law under the proposed legislation.

A proposed bipartisan amendment seeks to protect religious liberty by not requiring nonprofit religious organizations to provide services, facilities or goods for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.

The amendment also guarantees that the bill would not affect a church, university or other nonprofit organization’s eligibility for tax-exempt status.

“The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints related to marriage between a man and a woman is well known and will remain unchanged,” according to the church statement.

“We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

“We believe this approach is the way forward. As we work together to preserve the principles and practices of religious freedom together with the rights of LGBTQ individuals, much can be accomplished to heal relationships and foster greater understanding.”

Equality Utah was “heartened” to see the LDS Church’s support for the bipartisan legislation, said Troy Williams, the LGBTQ civil rights and advocacy organization’s executive director.

“Despite differences we may have, we can always discover common ground on laws that support the strengthening of all families,” Williams stated on social media. “We are thrilled to see a broad coalition of parties and faiths recognize that every American has a fundamental right to marry, regardless of race or sex.”

Five senators behind bipartisan amendments to the Respect for Marriage Act said the legislation “is a needed step to provide millions of loving couples in same-sex and interracial marriages the certainty that they will continue to enjoy the freedoms, rights, and responsibilities afforded to all other marriages.”

“Through bipartisan collaboration, we’ve crafted commonsense language to confirm that this legislation fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality,” according to a statement Monday from Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona; and Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina.


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