Back in 2008, the LDS Church fought vehemently against California’s Proposition Eight. It was the first bill of its kind that would allow for same-sex marriage. The Church reportedly spent $2 million on an ad campaign fighting against non-traditional marriage and the preservation of the Divine Institution of Marriage, which states:
The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints lost the battle, as they believed at the time, but “not the war.” Just one year later, in 2009, Utah Governor John Huntsman Jr. gave his endorsement for Civil Unions, which would essentially give homosexual couples all the same rights as traditional married couples in Utah, but falling short of calling unions between gay couples “marriage”. Civil Unions might have successfully maintained all rights for gay couples without using the word that has deep religious and cultural significance.
Huntsman received praise on both sides of the aisle for this bold action because he understood the reasoning behind the need for greater civil rights and powers of attorney for gay couples. The LDS Church has traditionally taken a defensive posture and/or what has been labeled an “anti-gay posture”, as critics would call it, or “pro family and traditional marriage” posture, depending on who you ask. But in 2014, the Supreme Court struck down any state bans on same-sex marriage which ushered in the Marriage Equality and Family Act. The LDS Church’s position today has certainly shifted.
Fast-forward to 2023, and in a “stunning reversal”, The LDS Church decided to back a federal bill this past November that would codify same-sex marriage and allow same-sex marriage to become a national law. The Respect For Marriage Act, and the Church’s endorsement of it, might be the first time in history that the church has backed a Democrat-proposed and sponsored bill that clearly deviates from the majority of other Conservative Christians on the issue. Utah Senator Mike Lee opposes the act. Senator Mitt Romney endorses it. Despite having just 19% Republican support, the Bill passed both chambers of Congress. President Biden signed the act into law this past December.
Showing further support for homosexuality, the LDS Church invited the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. to perform at the Washington D.C. LDS Temple Visitors Center on December 6th. This begs some major questions regarding the LDS Church’s current position on homosexuality and equal-rights for for gay couples, mainly:
Has the Church decided to reverse course and endorse not only same-sex marriage but also homosexual sex (which the Bible prohibits)?
According to Watcher Palmer, who operates a YouTube Channel that attempts to decipher Church policy and positions, the Church is sticking with its stated position on homosexuality and gay rights within the LDS Church. This policy is that it is essentially okay to have homosexual thoughts and feelings; it’s okay to even call yourself homosexual, bi-sexual, gay, or lesbian; it’s also okay to identify as a gay person when it comes to politics ― it’s just not okay to “act on homosexual thoughts and feelings.” Does this mean that gay couples can get married, and have gay thoughts and feelings so long as they don’t act on those thoughts and feelings? This still seems quite confusing.
Does this mean that the LDS Church no longer stands by its original Divine Institution of Marriage doctrine? Or is there a new Divine Institution of Marriage to come? Utah Stories will reach out to the Church for comment.
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