The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has declared its support of nondiscrimination regulations that would extend protection in matters of housing and employment in Salt Lake City to those with same-sex attraction (See Church's official position on nondiscrimination ordinances).
The Church said the Salt Lake City Council’s new nondiscrimination ordinance* “is fair and reasonable” and balances fair housing and employment rights with the religious rights of the community.
The remarks, representing the position of the Church’s leadership, were read by Michael Otterson, managing director of Church Public Affairs, as part of a public comment period discussing the ordinances at a Salt Lake City Council meeting tonight. (Read full remarks).
Otterson told city council members: “The issue before you tonight is the right of people to have a roof over their heads and the right to work without being discriminated against. But, importantly, the ordinances also attempts to balance vital issues of religious freedom. In essence, the Church agrees with the approach which Mayor Becker is taking on this matter.”
The Church said that while protections in housing and employment were fair and reasonable, the Church also remains “unequivocally committed to defending the bedrock foundation of marriage between a man and a woman.” Otterson also pointed out that this position was “entirely consistent with the Church’s prior position on these matters.”
Otterson added, “I represent a church that believes in human dignity, in treating others with respect even when we disagree — in fact, especially when we disagree.”
*In 2009, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supported a nondiscrimination ordinance in Salt Lake City that extended protections to individuals in matters of housing and employment. Since then, the Church has not spoken for or against other nondiscrimination ordinances in Utah or in any other states or communities.
It is important to understand that the provisions and elements of each nondiscrimination ordinance can often vary significantly. The Church supported the Salt Lake City ordinance because it granted common-sense rights that should be available to everyone, while safeguarding the crucial rights of religious organizations. The ordinance also avoided the potentially problematic elements of public accommodations and criminal penalties.