Mormons Building Bridges’ Steering Committee Response to LDS Church Press Conference
#BecauseWeBelieve – all our sisters, brothers, and families are inherently worthy of love and belonging in our homes, congregations, and communities –
On January 27, 2015, Elders Holland, Oaks, Christofferson, and Sister Neill Marriott spoke to the press affirming both the rights of LGBT people to be free from discrimination in housing, the workplace, and public accommodation, while at the same time calling for civil dialogue on the subject of religious liberty. (See transcript here.)
It is gratifying for Mormons Building Bridges to see General Authorities of our church acknowledge, the “ridicule, persecution and even violence” that LGBT people have suffered for centuries, and call for non-discrimination legislation on the municipal, state, and federal levels. The church publicly supported a Salt Lake Municipal nondiscrimination ordinance in 2009, and since its inception Mormons Building Bridges has pushed for expansion of this support in other municipalities around the world.
We are also supportive of the Church’s call for civil dialogue regarding people of faith’s constitutional rights to practice their religion according to the dictates of their own conscience. How far that right extends into the lives of others, and in this case how it will affect LGBT people, will continue to be a matter of important discussion in the public square. Sister Marriott’s assertion that “we are at our best as fellow citizens when the push-pull of different viewpoints, freely and thoroughly aired in national debate lead to compromise and resolution” is an example of the respectful dialogue Mormons Building Bridges practices in all our efforts.
This announcement provides an opportunity for a deepening of the conversation members of the church have about their LGBTQ/SSA brothers and sisters. Based on the principles highlighted in today’s statements, we look forward to General Authorities providing further clarity on how local leaders should respond when members of the church publicly express support for their LGBTQ/SSA loved ones, including those with same-sex spouses. In addition we hope this will provide clearer direction to local leaders in how to respond to LGBTQ/SSA members with greater empathy by acknowledging the pain and suffering many of these individuals have experienced for far too long from their leaders and other church members.
The issue of religious liberty need not be one that pits people of faith against LGBT people: Mormons Building Bridges is an organization based on the testimonies of gay, transgender, and straight Latter-day Saints who all seek a Christ-centered life as their authentic selves. It is our hope that today’s announcement by the church will lead to a more compassionate community where we can worship and serve each other in the spirit of love, respect, and acceptance.