Late Friday night, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (more commonly known as the Mormon Church) posted an announcement to its website reiterating the Church's opposition to same-sex marriage, but says it now fully supports non-discrimination laws that outlaw discrimination in employment and housing against LGBTQ people.
â€œChurch leaders recognize the existence and difficulty of same gender attraction and acknowledge the difference between having same-sex attraction and acting on it. They censure only the latter, and leaders strongly advocate for understanding, inclusion, and kindness toward people of all gender orientations. The Church website mormonsandgays.org details sincere outreach by the Church within the gay community, including support in Utah for nondiscrimination protections of employment and housing. There is room for compassion, common ground, and shared humanity among people who disagree, and Church leaders eagerly pursue these ideals, both inside and outside the Church.â€
Following nationwide protests at Mormon-owned temples over its support for California's Proposition 8, the Church previously endorsed a local Salt Lake City non-discrimination law back in 2009, but has remained silent on the issue since then, and the Republican-dominated Utah State Legislature has refused to pass such a law statewide.
The 2015 session of the state legislature begins in January, with the new endorsement from the Mormon Church, the proposed law might finally have a chance.
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Eric Ethington is a freelance journalist originally from Salt Lake City. His work has been featured on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, the New York Times, The Guardian, and The Public Eye magazine. Follow him on Twitter @EricEthington