HRC to LDS Leadership: True Protections Shouldn't Leave Anyone Behind

Potential Religious Exemptions Would Undermine Church Elders’ Endorsement of Housing, Public Accommodation and Workplace Protections

1/27/2015

WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, recognized the three apostles and a senior female leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their televised statement in support of housing, workplace and public accommodation protections for LGBT people.

“Symbolically, seeing the church leaders advocating so openly for these protections will no doubt be deeply meaningful to Mormon families with LGBT members, and provide encouragement to LGBT youth in the church,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “But, as a matter of public policy, it appears deeply flawed.”

Doctors would still be allowed to deny medical care. Pharmacists would still be allowed to refuse to fill valid prescriptions. And landlords, as well as business operators, would still be allowed to reject LGBT people. All in the name of religion.

“We share the church’s commitment to freedom of religion. We embrace the principles of the First Amendment and believe churches do and should have the right to make determinations about who fills their pews. But non-discrimination protections only function when they are applied equally,” Warbelow said.  "It should be stated that there are countless LGBT Mormons, and Mormon allies, who support equality, not in spite of their faith but because of it."

The Mormon church in recent years has been adjusting its language around LGBT people to be kinder, more accepting. Today’s announcement reflected that, but falls far short of embracing full inclusion and equality for LGBT people.

“All Americans should have the right to be employed, receive housing and services in environments free of discrimination,” Warbelow said. "We await the day the church embraces that fully, without any exceptions or exemptions.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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