In an announcement released Monday, May 13, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called for a "balanced 'fairness for all' approach that protects the most important rights for everyone while seeking reasonable, respectful compromises in areas of conflict."
The statement expressed the Church's opposition to the Equality Act currently before Congress. The statement, posted on Newsroom, said the proposed legislation "is not balanced and does not meet the standard of fairness for all."
While acknowledging the broad protections to LGBT persons offered by the Equality Act, the Church expressed concerns about the lack of protections for religious freedoms included in the legislation, stating, "It would instead repeal long-standing religious rights under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, threaten religious employment standards, devastate religious education, defund numerous religious charities and impose secular standards on religious activities and properties."
Standing with other religious organizations that oppose the Equality Act, the Church issued a call to Congress to instead pass legislation that "vigorously protects religious freedom while also protecting basic civil rights for LGBT persons."
The Church also stated it is on record as being in favor of reasonable measures that secure rights for LGBT persons, including nondiscrimidation in housing, employment and other public accommodations.
"This does not represent a change or shift in Church doctrine regarding marriage or chastity," the statement reads. "It does represent a desire to bring people together, to protect the rights of all, and to encourage mutually respectful dialogue and outcomes in this highly polarized national debate."
Read the full statement from the Church.
Read more about how religious freedom advocates "say it's wrong to guarantee that LGBTQ rights almost always trump protections for sincerely held religious beliefs," according to the Deseret News.