Mormon church facing growing pressure from within on LGBT rights
The Mormon Church is increasingly split on same-sex marriage, following the Supreme Court ruling in the US.
After the US Supreme Court announced its decision to legalise same-sex marriage, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sought to continue its strong opposition to marriage equality.
The Church itself released a statement on June 26: “The Court’s decision does not alter the Lord’s doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God.
“While showing respect for those who think differently, the Church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice.”
However, within the church a number of Mormons have been advocating for LGBT equality – and see the ruling as a chance for a clean break from the church’s previous scaremongering.
Mormons for Equality executive director Spencer W. Clark said: “For over two decades Mormons have feared – and fought – civil marriage equality.
“It will take time to overcome and repent of our past, but as we’ve seen already, the more that we come to know same-sex couples and their children, the more we discover that our fears were misplaced.”
“Mormons believe in the importance of families, and for increasing numbers of Mormons, that means all families.”
Since 2008, Mormons for Equality has existed to promote equal rights, including same-sex marriage.
Under the section, ‘Our Shared Values,’ Mormons for Equality states: “We believe that sharing the stories of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters is an important step in fostering understanding, love and respect.”
The organization recently participated in the DC Pride Parade and Portland Pride, holding signs that say, “Sorry we’re late,” and “Mormon and lovin’ me some LGBT.”
The group acknowledges that its stance on the issue differs from that of the Church’s, but maintains that it will support the right to marriage between two consenting adults, regardless of sexual orientation and gender.
The Church, however, played an imperative role in encouraging anti-discrimination laws throughout Utah for the LGBT community.
Another grass-roots organization, Mormons Building Bridges does not have an official stance on same-sex marriage, but states: “In accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Mormons Building Bridges are faithful Latter-day Saints who are dedicated to conveying love and acceptance to all who identify as LGBTQI and those who experience same-sex attraction.
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“We assert that all our sisters, brothers, and families are inherently worthy of love and belonging in our homes, congregations, and communities – no matter where their life path may take them.”
The organisation is known for its presence at Pride festivals, where it hosts Hugging Booths. The representatives distribute warm embraces and “Hugged by a Mormon” stickers.
Both LGBT-advocacy groups showed their support at the Utah Pride Festival in early June. Fox 13 reported that one of the largest groups at the event was, in fact, these members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.
While it’s highly unlikely the Church will change its stance on same-sex marriage any time soon, its members in Mormons for Equality and Mormons Building Bridges represent a softer side of the religion.
(Photos: Mormons for Equality/Facebook)