Utah passed legislation that protects both religious practices and LGBT communities from discrimination, and the bill was backed by the Mormon Church.
Mormon clergy supported a bill that bans discrimination against LGBT communities. The bill seeks to establish a compromise between the religiously devout and participants of lifestyles that may be frowned upon by the religious. Perhaps surprisingly, the traditionally conservative Mormon church supported this bill.
The primary purpose of the bill is to restrict landlords and employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual identity or orientation while protecting rights to freely exercise one’s own religion. Because of the attempt to appeal to both sides of this issue, the bill has been dubbed the “Utah Compromise.” This contentious bill tries to find a balance of protecting those who identify lesbian, gay, bisexual, or as a trans person while not overstepping into religious institutions practices. It is being praised as one of the first Republican bills supporting LGBT rights.
Why did the Mormon Church support the anti-discrimination legislation?
The argument that the Mormon Church leaders put forward in support of this bill is that it will essentially serve two purposes: banning discrimination on the basis of sexual identity and orientation and protecting religious institutions who do not support same-sex relationships and other alternative lifestyles. Furthermore, the Mormon church has recently come out as more supportive of LGBT communities and members than one might expect. Earlier in the year, the Mormon church announced that it would support legislation like the “Utah Compromise” that helps protect the LGBT from discrimination, so long as it did not interfere with church doctrine.
Two High Ranking Officials of the Mormon Church Affirm Their Support
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent two apostles, who are leading members within the faith to Capitol Hill in support of the anti-discrimination legislation. While in attendance of the government meeting, the two apostles spoke in a news conference reaffirming the church’s position.
The anti-discrimination bill also stipulates that charities and colleges are exempt from the law, likely due to the fact that many hold deep religious ties. The bill passed in the Utah senate with a vote of 23 to 5 and in the state’s house 65 to 10.