Similar to earlier legislative efforts on state and federal levels, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is lending support to a bipartisan nondiscrimination bill filed Monday, Feb. 7, in Arizona with that state’s legislature.
Church representatives gathered with local government and community leaders on the Senate Lawn of the Arizona State Capitol on Monday morning in Phoenix as the bill was announced.
The following statement was distributed to media after the event, expressing the Church’s view of the proposed legislation:
“The Church is pleased to be part of a coalition of faith, business, LGBTQ people and community leaders who have worked together in a spirit of trust and mutual respect to address issues that matter to all members of our community. It is our position that this bipartisan bill preserves the religious rights of individuals and communities of faith while protecting the rights of members of the LGBTQ community, consistent with the principles of fairness for all.”
The bill is similar to legislation that the Church has supported earlier — in Utah in 2015 and a federal bill introduced in late 2019. In support of the latter, a Church statement said “the nation is more united when diverse individuals and groups can work cooperatively to advance sound policy.”
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the Church’s First Presidency called for “a new, workable balance between religious freedom and nondiscrimination” in a November 2021 address at the University of Virginia.
“Let us unite with those who advocate nondiscrimination to seek a culture and laws that respect the rights of all to the equal protection of the law and the right to the free exercise of religion,” he said, pointing to the need “to work for a better way — a way to resolve differences without compromising core values. We need to live together in peace and mutual respect, within our defined constitutional rights.”