This latest news release includes the following statement:
"The focus of the Church’s involvement is specifically same-sex marriage and its consequences. The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference."This seems to suggest that the LDS church is willing to 'accept' civil unions for same sex couples. However, the General Handbook of Instructions (2006 edition), which is the authoritative source for formal church policy states
"Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. The Church accordingly opposes same-gender marriages and any efforts to legalize such marriages. Church members are encouraged "to appeal to legislators, judges, and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and to reject all efforts to give legal authorization or other official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same gender." [emphasis added]Which suggests to me that the LDS church opposes any and all efforts to grant legal rights to same sex couples. So, is this a change of policy? Will we be receiving a letter from the First Presidency with this new policy superseding the 2006 edition of the general handbook of instructions? Until then, does this latest news release supersede the general handbook of instructions?
"Church Handbook of Instructions", book 1 p.187
Same Sex Marriage vs Civil Unions vs Domestic Partnerships - A rose by any other name would smell so sweet. Has it all come down to terminology and nomenclature? How silly is that?
I don't buy the argument that calling it 'marriage' will impose "restrictions on religious freedom." How does the terminology or nomenclature have any effect the examples included in the news release?
- Tax exemptions and benefits be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not embrace same-sex unions
- Forcing religious organizations to allow marriage celebrations or receptions in religious facilities that are otherwise open to the public
- Asserting pressure on religious schools and universities to provide married housing for same-sex couples
- Student religious organizations are being told by some universities that they may lose their campus recognition and benefits if they exclude same-sex couples from club membership
And, in the LDS church, don't we already have certain religion motivated restrictions on heterosexual marriage - which is allowed under the law? For example, my family are not members of the church, neither are my wifes. When we were married in the Oakland temple, there were no family members in attendance - and there are no legal recourses available to force the church to allow non-members to attend a temple wedding ceremony. Why would allowing two men or two women to marry suddenly change the first amendment to the US constitution? This just seems like a red herring to me.