SALT LAKE CITY — The Mormon church on Jan. 27 announced it would back pro-LGBT laws as long as they include religious exemptions.
“We must find ways to show respect for others whose beliefs, values and behaviors differ from ours while never being forced to deny or abandon our own beliefs,” said Jeffrey R. Holland, a church elder, as the Associated Press reported.
The announcement came against the backdrop of continued debate over an anti-LGBT discrimination bill that has languished in the Utah Legislature for several years.
“We laud the LDS Church’s statement of support,” said Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, in a statement.
The church’s announcement coincides with debate on so-called religious freedom bills that continue to take place in Virginia and several other states.
Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement she feels the new position “appears deeply flawed.”
“All Americans should have the right to be employed, receive housing and services in environments free of discrimination,” she said. “We await the day the church embraces that fully, without any exceptions or exemptions.”