The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has come out in support of same-sex marriage rights on Tuesday.
The church clarified that while its doctrine on marriage between a man and a woman remains unchanged, it would respect and preserve the rights of its “LGBTQ brothers and sisters” so long as the church would be given religious freedoms, according to a statement released Tuesday.
“We believe this approach is the way forward,” the church’s statement read. “As we work together to preserve the principles and practices of religious freedom together with the rights of LGBTQ individuals, much can be accomplished to heal relationships and foster greater understanding.”
The church’s statement comes ahead of a vote in the Senate on the Respect for Marriage Act, which will codify same-sex marriage while also having an amendment for religious liberty. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced Monday that he would bring the bill up for a test vote on Wednesday, saying, “No American should ever be discriminated against because of who they love, and passing this bill would secure much-needed safeguards into federal law.”
A bipartisan group of senators, including Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), crafted the religious freedom amendment in the Respect for Marriage Act to address concerns from conservatives. The group stated it is “confident” the act will have the 10 Republican votes necessary to begin consideration when it comes up for a procedural vote.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who is Mormon, has stated that if exceptions for religious institutions are included in the bill, “I intend to support it.”
The voting on the Respect for Marriage Act comes several months after the Supreme Court’s historic decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June. A concurring opinion from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should “correct the error” of rulings that protect same-sex marriage and contraception access.
The Respect for Marriage Act passed in the House of Representatives on July 19 with a vote of 267-157, with 47 Republicans joining all of the Democrats in voting for the bill. If passed in the Senate, it will then go to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed.