The Human Rights Campaign lauded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ support of nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBT people in housing, employment and accommodations, but finds their version of “religious freedoms” legislation “flawed.”
“Symbolically, seeing the church leaders advocating so openly for these protections will no doubt be deeply meaningful to Mormon families with LGBT members, and provide encouragement to LGBT youth in the church,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “But, as a matter of public policy, it appears deeply flawed. Doctors would still be allowed to deny medical care. Pharmacists would still be allowed to refuse to fill valid prescriptions. And landlords, as well as business operators, would still be allowed to reject LGBT people. All in the name of religion.”
“We share the church’s commitment to freedom of religion. We embrace the principles of the First Amendment and believe churches do and should have the right to make determinations about who fills their pews. But non-discrimination protections only function when they are applied equally,” Warbelow said. “It should be stated that there are countless LGBT Mormons, and Mormon allies, who support equality, not in spite of their faith but because of it.”
The Mormon Church in recent years has been adjusting its language around LGBT people to be kinder, more accepting. Today’s announcement reflected that, but falls far short of embracing full inclusion and equality for LGBT people, said Warbelow.
“All Americans should have the right to be employed, receive housing and services in environments free of discrimination,” Warbelow said. “We await the day the church embraces that fully, without any exceptions or exemptions.”