LDS Church responds to same-sex marriage ruling...
(By Josh Furlong, KSL News)
SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Friday addressing the topic of same-sex marriage in the state of Utah.
"As we face this and other issues of our time, we encourage all to bear in mind our Heavenly Father's purposes in creating the earth and providing for our mortal birth and experience here as His children," the statement says. "Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God and is central to His plan for His children and for the well-being of society.
"Strong families, guided by a loving mother and father, serve as the fundamental institution for nurturing children, instilling faith, and transmitting to future generations the moral strengths and values that are important to civilization and crucial to eternal salvation," the statement continues.
The LDS Church encouraged its members to "review and teach Church members the doctrine contained in ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.' "
"Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society," the LDS Church says. "His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife."
Nevertheless, the church urges for civility and asks its members to maintain "moral conduct" as the courts determine the fate of same-sex marriage in Utah and at the federal level.
"Just as those who promote same-sex marriage are entitled to civility, the same is true for those who oppose it. The Church insists on its leaders' and members' constitutionally protected right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution," the LDS Church says.
"While these matters will continue to evolve, we affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to love and treat all people with kindness and civility—even when we disagree."
The LDS Church said marriages performed and related ceremonies for same-sex couples are not permitted inside its meetinghouses and should not be performed by any of its ecclesiastical members.
"Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there."