The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has unexpectedly given its support for a proposed federal law that would codify marriages between same-sex couples.

While the Utah-based church’s doctrine “related to marriage between a man and a woman is well known and will remain unchanged,” the church also confirmed in a statement that they would support the legislation.

“We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” the statement read.


The church’s statement follows the legislation’s sponsors adding an amendment to the House-passed bill that exempts religious organisations, including faith-based universities, from providing “services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges for the solemnisation or celebration of a marriage.”

The amendment also specified that the measure would not extend to polygamous marriages.

“We believe this approach is the way forward,” the church statement added.

“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.”

Speaking about the church’s move, Troy Williams, the executive director of Equality Utah, said he was “heartened to see The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints publicly take this stance today.”

“Despite differences, we may have, we can always discover common ground on policies and laws that support the strengthening of all families.”

Williams also highlighted that while the latest version of the act “clearly acknowledges and protects the diversity of American religious and other beliefs, it does not do so at the expense” of its aim “to safeguard marriage equality.”