After years of behind-the-scenes meetings between LGBT advocates and top Mormon leaders, church officials Tuesday announced for the first time general support for legislation to protect LGBT people in areas such as housing and employment – as long as accommodations are made to protect the freedom of religious people who oppose such measures.
“We must all learn to live with others who do not share the same beliefs or values,” read a statement released at a midday Salt Lake City news conference.
Church officials emphasized that there has been no change of the doctrine. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches that it goes against the law of God to have sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman.
LGBT advocates had mixed reactions to the announcement, which mirrors a national discussion about how to balance civil rights of gays and lesbians with the religious freedom of conservatives of different faiths who oppose gay equality, among other liberalizing moves.
“As a matter of policy, there’s no ‘there’ there,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign. “The so-called religious exemption is the size of five Mack trucks. It entirely neuters their proposal.” However, that doesn’t mean the announcement won’t impact the topic, he said. “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 LGBT people by the church.”
But Jim Dabakis, a gay, married Utah state senator who was involved in talks with church leaders in recent years, has a different take.
“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 here we need to be going in America,” he said Tuesday.
So far the usual suspects on the Left are mostly just ignoring this story. Few organizations are hated by LGBT activists more than the Church of Latter Day Saints. On the other hand, few activists are more hateful and annoying than LGBT advocates. No matter how much you do for them they’re angry you didn’t do more.
When I was born homosexuality was considered a mental illness and consensual homosexual “sodomy” was a crime. We’ve come a long way since then, but there is still a ways to go. Depending on what SCOTUS decides same-sex marriage may be legal in all 57 states by this summer. I support same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, but I also understand that some people sincerely believe that homosexuality is a sin. I don’t think that makes them evil.
Some of the laws, policies, rules and regulations that are still on our books weren’t meant to discriminate against homosexuals, but they certainly have that effect. But compared to the slow pace of change in law and government the rate of change in religious institutions is glacial.
Since men wrote the law, men can change the law. But religion is (allegedly) handed down from the Creator. If you don’t agree with God’s laws well tough shit. He’s God and you’re not, so obey him or burn in hell.
That is why this really is a big deal. It’s like a glacier suddenly sliding forward several feet. It’s still a glacier, but it moved.