The Mormon church for the first time has announced its support of gay rights legislation, an endorsement that helped gain unanimous approval for Salt Lake city laws banning discrimination against gays in housing and employment.
-- From "Salt Lake OKs gay rights laws with Mormon backing" by Jennifer Dobner, Associated Press 11/11/09
The Utah-based church's support ahead of Tuesday night's vote came despite its steadfast opposition to gay marriage, reflected in the high-profile role it played last year in California's Proposition 8 ballot measure that barred such unions.
"The church supports these ordinances because they are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage," Michael Otterson, the director of public affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said.
Passage made Salt Lake City the first Utah community to prohibit bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the two new ordinances, it is illegal to fire someone from their job or evict someone from their residence because they are lesbian, bisexual, gay or transgender.
. . . the church has pointed out an inherent dispute it has with the gay lifestyle. Mormonism considers traditional marriages central to God's plan. Gays are welcome in church, but must remain celibate to retain church callings and full membership.
. . . addressing the council on Tuesday, Otterson said the endorsement is not a shift in the church's position on gay rights and stressed it "remains unequivocally committed to defending the bedrock foundation of marriage between a man and a woman."
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