General Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have asked local church leaders to open up discussion about same-sex marriage with congregants. This comes in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide.
Crystal Young Otterstrom is a politically active Mormon Democrat. She says the latest call from LDS Church leaders is a relief.
“I think we’re all dying to talk about these issues more and we’re dying to have a frank and civil and charitable discussion that’s not just on Facebook, but in person, one to one,” Otterstrom says.
The Council of The First Presidency delivered a letter to local church leaders this week that reiterates the faiths’ opposition to same-sex marriage, but stresses members’ have the right to express opinions on marriage, family, and morality free from retaliation or retribution. The letter directs church leaders to read the statement to members during church class time and field questions.
Susan Mikesell is a committee member of Mormon’s Building Bridges, a group of faithful Latter-day Saints who want broader acceptance of gay people in the Church. She says the conversation can now move away from polarized debates.
“The courts have decided,” Mikesell says. “Now our work is to build relationships to try to understand each other. To reach out and make our homes and our families, congregations, safer places for everyone, especially our LGBT brothers and sisters.”
The letter includes a church response to the court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and materials for Bishops and Branch Presidents to help guide them in the discussions.