Mormon leadership comes out in support of (some) basic rights for (some) LGBT Utahns
Video from the public hearing, featuring Michael Otterson, Eric Ethington (local blogger/activist and genuinely nice guy), Deeda Seed, and Jonas from the all-Brazilian America Forever bigot brigade:
Text of LDS statement after the break.
Transcript of remarks by the managing director of LDS Public Affairs, who spoke at the hearing in support of Salt Lake City’s proposed non-discrimination ordinance:
“My name is Michael Otterson, and I am here tonight officially representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The non-discrimination ordinance being reviewed by the City Council concerns important questions for the thoughtful people of this community.
“Like most of America, our community in Salt Lake City is comprised of citizens of different faiths and values, different races and cultures, different political views and divergent demographics. Across America and around the world, diverse communities such as ours are wrestling with complex social and moral questions. People often feel strongly about such issues. Sometimes they feel so strongly that the ways in which they relate to one another seem to strain the fabric of our society, especially where the interests of one group seem to collide with the interests of another.
“The issue before you tonight is the right of people to have a roof over their heads and the right to work without being discriminated against. But, importantly, the ordinance also attempts to balance vital issues of religious freedom. In essence, the Church agrees with the approach which Mayor Becker is taking on this matter.
“In drafting this ordinance, the city has granted common-sense rights that should be available to everyone, while safeguarding the crucial rights of religious organizations, for example, in their hiring of people whose lives are in harmony with their tenets, or when providing housing for their university students and others that preserve religious requirements.
“The Church supports this ordinance because it is fair and reasonable and does not do violence to the institution of marriage. It is also entirely consistent with the Church’s prior position on these matters. The Church remains unequivocally committed to defending the bedrock foundation of marriage between a man and a woman.
“I represent a church that believes in human dignity, in treating others with respect even when we disagree in fact, especially when we disagree. The Church’s past statements are on the public record for all to see. In these comments and in our actions, we try to follow what Jesus Christ taught. Our language will always be respectful and acknowledge those who differ, but will also be clear on matters that we feel are of great consequence to our society.
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Moms for Equality: Big News Coming from the Mormons!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AFFIRMATION: GAY AND LESBIAN MORMONS
CONTACT MEDIA AFFAIRS DIRECTOR MICAH BISSON
MICAH@AFFIRMATION.ORG OR 720-339-6218
Gay Mormons Applaud LDS Church Action
Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons applauds the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for endorsing the employment and housing non-discrimination act now before the Salt Lake City (Utah) Council.
Discrimination based on a persons identity, including race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability, has always been wrong. It is commendable that the LDS Church is taking a step toward living up to its own teachings of valuing of all humanity. It is a vital first step.
We pray that the words spoken tonight are to be followed up with positive action, said Affirmation Assistant Executive Director Micah Bisson. It is time to eliminate the heavy-handed church actions to defeat marriage equality and protections for transgender people. When LDS officials arrest gay people for public affection on Temple Square, we need to realize that all Mormons, and the LDS church itself, look small-minded to people who are outside the tradition.
The LDS Church, as is the case with any faith organization, has the absolute right to choose whatever standards it wishes for membership, and to choose what marriage ordinances it wishes to perform or to recognize, stated Assistant Executive Director George Cole. It does not have the right to impose its unique standards upon those of other faiths.
Too many millions of dollars have been spent; the Church has been the punch-line of too many jokes, added Executive Director David Melson. This is an opportunity for the Church to take a position of leadership, to declare an end to the hostilities that have divided our country and our families, to welcome all of Gods children into the Church of Jesus Christ.
We are grateful for this first step, we await the second.
MORMON CHURCH LEADERS BEND UNDER SCRUTINY BROUGHT ON BY 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION.
IS THIS ANOTHER MORMON P.R. STUNT?
On November 10, 2009 several highly placed people featured in the upcoming documentary film 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION were contacted by well-placed people inside the Mormon Church in anticipation of an “historic statement against discrimination” to be made by the Mormon Church.
They were told, “Watch what we are about to do. You will be pleased.”
At this hour gays and lesbians all over the world hope that the Mormon Church’s announcement will not be yet another Mormon public relations smoke screen and result in action that will result in full marriage equality for the LGBT community world-wide.
Since the release of the trailer for 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION, intense scrutiny has been focused on Mormon involvement in the passage of Proposition 8 and allegations that the Mormon Church set up the infamous NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE which was the key player in Maine’s recent ban on gay marriage.
Sources close to those who called our cast and production team alerting us to the upcoming Mormon statement on discrimination say that Mormon Mitt Romney has recently put pressure on his own church to extend an olive branch to the gay community to try and deflate the anticipated negative press that will come from the release of 8: THE MORMON PROPOSITION that would likely damage his hope for a successful 2012 presidential bid.
Ironically (and we suspect in step with the Mormon’s anticipated statement on discrimination) Mormon-owned KSL TV released an article on their web site saying “Romney appears to be front-runner in 2012 election.”
While the 8:TMP team hopes Mormons end their game of discrimination against the LGBT community and wishes to work with people of all faith traditions to end discrimination, we would like to assert the following:
FACT: Under similar international scrutiny, Mormon leaders have in the past made similar statements regarding being against discrimination directed towards minorities & the LGBT COMMUNITY.
FACT: Gay leaders in SLC begged Mormon leaders to back up their statements on ending discrimination against the LGBT commmunity, through Mormon support for their COMMON GROUND INITIATIVE.
FACT: Despite lip service, Mormons did not get behind the COMMON GROUND INITIATIVE and in fact worked to see the initiative’s defeat.
FACT: Despite lip service to people of color, the holiest book of Mormon scripture THE BOOK OF MORMON still refers to people of color as being “CURSED WITH A DARK SKIN, FILTHY AND LOATHSOME.”
FACT: Despite lip service to people of color, printings of MORMON DOCTRINE by beloved Mormon Apostle Bruce R. Mcconkie, assert African Americans are “marked” for not being fully behind the plan of Jesus Christ in a pre-earth life war in Heaven.
FACT: A Mormon spokesperson told 8:TMP’s director “this is all about public relations and making the church look good.”
In conclusion, as Mormon heavy-hitters prepare for the so-called “historic announcement” our team would encourage Mormons to put their money and their membership by doing the following:
1. Severing all Mormon ties to the NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE, which works to rob the LGBT COMMUNITY of their civil rights.
2. Directing an amount of money equal to Mormon money spent in California’s Prop. 8 campaign to LGBT marriage equality.
3. Removing from all Mormon canonized scripture any reference to people of color as being “cursed or marked with a dark skin” or being “filthy and loathsome.”
4. Ask Mormon Apostle Dallin H. Oaks to retract his recent teachings on LGBT “alleged civil rights” and affirm that LGBT rights are not “alleged” but deserved and long overdue.
Our production team and cast await the day when Mormons will work with the LGBT community not only with their words, but their money and their members to achieve FULL MARRIAGE EQUALITY. This is the only way to truly advocate for the end of discrimination against ALL PEOPLE.
Anything else is lip-service.
LDS Church Endorses protections for LGBT individuals in Housing and Employment
The Foundation for Reconciliation / LDSapology.org is thrilled that the LDS Church was able to find common ground with the LGBT community by officially endorsing a Salt Lake City non-discrimination ordinance today that includes basic protections in housing and employment for LGBT individuals. Peter Danzig, the Foundations communications director stated this grew out of conversations the LDS Church recently began with leaders in the LGBT community. This demonstrates the power that just beginning to talk with each other can have. We have a lot of common ground.
We hope this is just the first of many more such opportunities stated the Foundations director, Cheryl Nunn. Just 6 days prior to their announcement today we met with a Church representative following our handcart trek and presented him with our Plea for Reconciliation Petition. This is precisely the type of action we were advocating for.”
Janeen Thompson, a member of the Foundations executive committee said, This is precisely the type of dialogue and action I was hoping for from my Church. I feel like this is a big step in the right direction.
The Foundation has written to Church officials requesting just such a private dialogue to discuss their concerns, stated Nunn. This gives me hope that such conversations can and do happen.
The Foundation for Reconciliation is an organization dedicated to creating opportunities for reconciliation between the LDS and LGBT community. More information is available at www.LDSapology.org
If you’re having a hard time reading the above ‘toon, click on the graphic for larger version.
That second ‘toon cracks me up every time. “Better than Ted.” Guffaw. That Mitt, what a comedian.