January 29, 2015
By Lorra B.
On Tuesday, the Mormon Church (LDS) proclaimed their support the for public accommodation, housing and job protections for gays and lesbians, although just seven years ago the LDS sought to prohibit gay marriage in California.
Trying to fight the battle of same-sex marriage while trying to steer clear of the ‘anti-gay’ label proved difficult for the LDS and they suffered a severe backlash and the Mormon-backed referendum, Prop 8, failed.
The Mormon Church’s support will be given, their leaders say, as long as freedoms of religious groups who appose these measures are protected. The LDS wants the government and gay rights advocates to get off their backs.
Quorum of Twelve Apostles, Elder Dallin Oaks stated, “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.”
Oaks went on to say, “Such tactics are every bit as wrong as denying access to employment, housing or public services because of race or gender…We must learn to live with others who do not share the same beliefs or values.”
But the legal director of the Human Rights Campaign based in Washington, Sarah Warbelow, has a different take on the church’s position and said it seemed ‘deeply flawed.’
“Symbolically, seeing the church leaders advocating so openly for these protections will no doubt be deeply meaningful to Mormon Families with LGBT members, and provide encouragement to LGBT youth in the church…nondiscrimination protections only function when they are applied equally.”
Fred Sainz, another spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, stated, “As a matter of policy, there’s no ‘there’ there. The so-called religious exemption is the size of five Mack trucks. It entirely neuters their proposal.”
Sainz did say, however, that the announcement by the LDS will still have an impact. “In the relationship…between Mormon families and their LGBT children and LGBT friends, I have no doubt that this will be deeply meaningful…From the perspective of symbolism, this is a step forward in the continued acceptance of LBGT people by the church.”
Married Utah State Senator, Jim Dabakis, who is openly gay, states his take on the proposal. “As long as:’ It’s the whole enchilada or nothing,’ as long as you’re using rhetoric to rev up your base…and not involved in saying: ‘Let’s find that common ground,’ when you find that kind of good will, like the church has…it’s a golden moment and that’s where we need to be going in America,” reported to The Washington Post.
Less than a third of U.S. states have laws that protect LGBTs, according to GLAD, a gay rights group.
“It is unlikely that Mormons’ support of those measures could increase that number significantly, except perhaps in church strongholds like Utah, Idaho and Wyoming,” reports CNN. “There are 16 Mormons in Congress, where LGBT civil rights legislation, including ENDA, has repeatedly failed.”
In an emailed response to faith activists, Lance Walker, of the LDS church’s Washington advocacy office, stated, “This appeal for a balanced approach between religious and gay rights does not represent a change or shift in doctrine for the Church. It does represent a desire to bring people together, to encourage mutually respectful dialogue in what has become a highly polarized national debate.”
Two things seem certain in this latest LDS development; politicians have been at a loss of how to address the new Mormon Churches support of gay and lesbian rights and the liberals and conservatives have been locking horns.
By Lorra B.