LDS Church letter to members reaffirms traditional marriage stance

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File: An image depicting marriage.

SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have written a letter that will be read to church members next month regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

The letter, written by the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will be read in church houses across the United States and Canada starting July 5. The leaders reiterate the church’s stance against same-sex relationships and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

“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,” the letter reads.

The letter reads that changes in the civil law “do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established.”

The letter is to read to members in its entire statement. Background material will also be enclosed to help answer questions that arise.

Same-sex marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court June 26. The LDS Church released a statement the same day.

Church leaders write in the letter that they will not perform same-sex marriages.

“Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex,” according to the letter.

Meetinghouses or other properties owned by the LDS Church will not be permitted to be used for ceremonies, receptions or other activities associated with same-sex marriages.

The leaders also wrote the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches to love and treat all people with kindness and civility even when people disagree.

“We affirm that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully,” according to the letter.

The LDS Church has advocated for rights of same-sex couples in matters hospitalization, medical care, fair housing, employment and probate, “so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.”

“The Church insists on its leaders’ and members’ right to express and advocate religious convictions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution,” the letter reads. “The Church is also entitled to maintain its standards of moral conduct and good standing for members.”

Read the letter and background material in their entirety here: LDS Church letter