As a gay member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I can stand resolutely with my church on their position to support anti-discrimination policies. While many major media outlets are reporting this policy as a shift from prior positions, members of the LDS faith have been very aware of these standards for years.
There has been no 180-degree turn in the LDS Church’s way of treating or responding to the LGBT community. The Mormon church stated publicly that they supported anti-discrimination laws that protected LGBT members in manners of housing and job security. The doctrine of “love one another” and treating all people with respect and worth has always been a standard of practice within the Church. As the question of LGBT protection and rights has become more and more important, the Church has responded with support.
Many non-Mormons believe, wrongly, that supporting traditional marriage in place of gay marriage makes Mormons the enemy of the LGBT community. Because of our beliefs regarding the sanctity of marriage between men and women, our doctrine doesn’t allow for support of SSM. We do, however, support the fair treatment of all, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexuality.
As a gay Mormon, it’s not difficult for me to support my church in this measure. In all honesty, it shouldn’t be difficult for any and all organizations to support the LDS Church in this measure. Though my church doesn’t support gay marriage, it supports all the major rights LGBT people need to be put on an equal plane with other members of society.
On the topic of religious freedom, the concern felt within our church and culture is very real. There have already been numerous cases of religious conscience and freedom being overturned by anti-discrimination laws in various states. The precedence set by these cases is unnerving to religious adherents everywhere, especially for the LDS Church.
While I fully support equal protection in housing, the workplace, and in public services, I also support the right of religious liberty. If a Christian store owner chooses not to serve me on the basis of a religious belief, I think I might feel offended, but I also understand they have a right to their beliefs. Who am I to turn the bigoted finger at them for not respecting me, when I feel my entitlement is more important than their beliefs?
It all comes down to respecting others. It’s not impossible for Mormons to respect the LGBT community (as was proven today). And it is certainly not impossible for those of that community to share a bit of love and tolerance to those of us that believe a bit differently. Based on what I heard today, I think these two groups can easily work together and co-exist on these issues.