Church acknowledges LGBTQ rights in Respect for Marriage Act

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A statue of Angel Moroni sits at the top of a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church released a statement on Nov. 15, supporting the coexistence of religious freedoms and LGBTQ rights within the Respect for Marriage Act. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement on Nov. 15, supporting the coexistence of religious freedoms and LGBTQ rights within the Respect for Marriage Act.

After bipartisan negotiations, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer gave a motion to proceed with the Respect for Marriage Act on Nov. 14, which aims to safeguard same-sex marriages as well as religious freedoms.

The bill repeals the Defense of Marriage Act that does not require states to recognize same-sex marriages. The language within the proposed act assuages conservative concerns that religious freedoms would be impeded upon if the bill is enacted.

“No American should ever, ever be discriminated against because of whom they love,” Schumer said. “And passing this bill would secure these much needed safeguards into federal law.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded to the Respect for Marriage Act, saying they are grateful that the act “includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.”

The statement also said the Church’s doctrine of marriage between a man and a woman will “remain unchanged” but that “much can be accomplished to heal relationships and foster greater understanding.”

The Church previously released a statement saying “those who experience same-sex attraction or identify as gay can fully participate in the Church” and that the issue is one that “requires kindness, compassion and understanding.”

Senator Tammy Baldwin released a summary of the act, saying that it “protects all religious liberty and conscience protections available under the Constitution or federal law, including but not limited to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and prevents this bill from being used to diminish or repeal any such protection.”

Though the act acknowledges the rights of LGBTQ individuals, it also means that the Church and other religious organizations will “not be required to provide any services, facilities, or goods for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.”

It also upholds that the federal government does not recognize polygamous marriages, a “strictly prohibited” practice in the Church.

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