The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Tuesday it would back proposed federal legislation to safeguard same-sex marriages, marking the latest show of support for the measure from conservative-leaning groups.
The nearly 17-million member, Utah-based faith said in a statement that church doctrine would continue to consider same-sex relationships to be against God’s commandments. Yet it said it would support rights for same-sex couples as long as they didn’t infringe upon religious groups’ right to believe as they choose.
“We believe this approach is the way forward. 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 said in a statement posted on its website.
Support for the Respect for Marriage Act under consideration in Congress is the church’s latest step to stake out a more welcoming stance toward the LGBTQ community while holding firm to its belief that same-sex relationships are sinful. Still, its stance toward LGBTQ people — including those who grow up in the church — remains painful for many.