Church Supports Call for Constitutional Amendment

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    In April Church leaders added their voices to those of the leaders of many other religions in support of an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to protect and preserve the institution of marriage between a man and a woman.

    “We take the unprecedented stand of uniting to call for a constitutional amendment to establish a uniform national definition of marriage as the exclusive union of one man and one woman,” states a letter signed by American religious leaders, including Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “We are convinced that this is the only measure that will adequately protect marriage from those who would circumvent the legislative process and force a redefinition of it on the whole of our society” (“A Letter from America’s Religious Leaders in Defense of Marriage,” http://www.religiouscoalitionformarriage.org).

    The doctrine of the Church affirms marriage between a man and a woman, and it opposes same-gender unions and any other sexual relations outside of marriage.

    “The union of husband and wife assures perpetuation of the race and provides a divinely ordained setting for the nurturing and teaching of children,” stated a news release based on a letter dated February 1, 1994, from the First Presidency to priesthood leaders. “This sacred family setting, with father and mother and children firmly committed to each other and to righteous living, offers the best hope for avoiding many of the ills that afflict society.”

    “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” states, “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

    Because national campaigns on moral, social, or political issues often become divisive, the Church urges those who participate in public debate to be respectful of others.

    “We can and do work with those of other religions in various undertakings in the everlasting fight against social evils which threaten the treasured values which are so important to all of us,” President Hinckley said in April 1998 general conference. “These people are not of our faith, but they are our friends, neighbors, and co-workers in a variety of causes. We are pleased to lend our strength to their efforts. But in all of this there is no doctrinal compromise. There need not be and must not be on our part. But there is a degree of fellowship as we labor together” (“We Bear Witness of Him,” Ensign, May 1998, 4–5).

    The Church has previously issued two statements in support of a constitutional amendment on marriage—on July 7, 2004, and on October 19, 2004.

    The October 2004 First Presidency statement reads: “We of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reach out with understanding and respect for individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender. We realize there may be great loneliness in their lives but there must also be recognition of what is right before the Lord.

    “As a doctrinal principle, based on sacred scripture, we affirm that marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. The powers of procreation are to be exercised only between a man and a woman lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

    “Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship.”