SALT LAKE — During a rare press conference, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reemphasized the church’s position regarding laws that ensure fair housing and employment for LGBT people.
“Because we are frequently asked for our position on these matters, the Church asserts the following principles based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, and on fairness for all, including people of faith,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks said. He then went on to make the following four points.
- We claim for everyone the God-given and Constitutional right to live their faith according to the dictates of their own conscience, without harming the health or safety of others.
- We acknowledge that the same freedom of conscience must apply to men and women everywhere to follow the religious faith of their choice, or none at all if they so choose.
- We believe laws ought to be framed to achieve a balance in protecting the freedoms of all people while respecting those with differing values.
- We reject persecution and retaliation of any kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief, economic circumstances or differences in gender or sexual orientation.
Other speakers at the press conference, which included Neill Marriott, second counselor in the church’s Young Women general presidency, as well as Elders Jeffrey R. Holland, Oaks and D. Todd Christofferson, called for political leaders to safeguard religious freedom in the United States and worldwide.
“When religious people are publicly intimidated, retaliated against, forced from employment or made to suffer personal loss because they have raised their voice in the public square, donated to a cause or participated in an election, our democracy is the loser,” Elder Oaks said. “Such tactics are every bit as wrong as denying access to employment, housing or public services because of race or gender.”
Elder Holland said a serious dialog, free of intimidation, is needed to ensure the rights of all people.
“Accommodating the rights of all people – including their religious rights– requires wisdom and judgment, compassion and fairness. Politically, it certainly requires dedication to the highest level of statesmanship. Nothing is achieved if either side resorts to bullying, political point scoring or accusations of bigotry. These are serious issues, and they require serious minds engaged in thoughtful, courteous discourse,” Elder Holland said.
Watch the press conference here.