The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is lending its support to a new bipartisan bill in Arizona that was filed with the state’s legislature on Monday, February 7, 2022.
Church leaders gathered Monday morning with local government leaders, LGBT advocacy groups, business and religious leaders, including the speaker of the Republican-controlled House and the mayor of Mesa.
The church did not speak at the news conference but released a statement afterward.
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“The Church is pleased to be part of a coalition of faith, business, LGBTQ people and community leaders who have worked together in a spirit of trust and mutual respect to address issues that matter to all members of our community. It is our position that this bipartisan bill preserves the religious rights of individuals and communities of faith while protecting the rights of members of the LGBTQ community, consistent with the principles of fairness for all.”
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The Church has supported religious freedom and non-discrimination bills in the past, including one in Utah in 2015 and another at the federal level in 2019.
As a Church statement said in support of the latter, “the nation is more united when diverse individuals and groups can work cooperatively to advance sound policy.” Last November at the University of Virginia, President Dallin H. Oaks of the Church’s First Presidency called for “a new, workable balance between religious freedom and non-discrimination.”
He pointed people to a “better way” that focuses on the Christ-centered virtues of loving, listening, respecting, negotiating, persuading, balancing, tolerating, cooperating, reconciling, accommodating — any peaceful means that focus on the common good and “resolve differences without compromising core values.”