As many of you are already aware, the LDS Church recently endorsed a number of Salt Lake ordinances banning discrimination against gays in housing and employment. Now, I don’t think this is penance enough for the untold pain the church and its rhetoric has caused the LGBT community (both within and outside the church) over the past few decades. But nevertheless, this is a positive development and one for which the LDS Church and Equality Utah deserve our thanks.
Andrew Sullivan is a conservative, Obama-supporting, homosexual, Catholic blogger—oh, and a walking contradiction. Last year, he wrote at length about Proposition 8 and the Mormons’ involvement in it.* What Sullivan wrote today in response to the LDS Church’s support of non-discrimination laws expresses my sentiments exactly. Below are some excerpts, but be sure to read the article in full.
It is possible to be cynical or begrudging in reacting to the LDS Church’s unprecedented public decision to support civic protections against discrimination in employment and housing with respect to homosexuals in Salt Lake City. I think that is a temptation to be resisted.
What the LDS church has done in Utah is an immensely important and positive step and places the Mormon church in a far more positive and pro-gay position than any other religious group broadly allied with the Christianist right.
I believe that there are forces of discrimination and bigotry within the Mormon church – and they have recently been ascendant. But that is true of most churches and most institutions. And what I have long observed among Mormons – unlike some other denominations – is also an American decency that tends to win out in the end. I’ve never met a nasty Mormon. They put many Christians to shame in their practice of their faith and the civility and sincerity with which they live their lives. And this decision in Salt Lake City – not an easy or inevitable one – to make a clear distinction between civil marriage and other civil protections is one worthy of respect.
I do not agree with it. I see no reason why civil marriage for non-Mormons should be banned because Mormons find it anathema to their doctrines – just as I see no reason why civil divorce should be banned because it violates the Catholic church’s doctrines. But I can respect that position because I can respect the sincerity of that religious belief and see in this stance a genuine attempt to reach out and respect the rights of gay citizens in certain basic respects. Gays should and must reciprocate.
For this is not something that many other churches, including my own, have been able or prepared to do.
*Here were my thoughts on the Proposition 8 debate.