Statment Given to Salt Lake City Council on
10 November 2009The
following statement representing the position of the Church’s
leadership, was read by Michael Otterson, managing director of
Church Public Affairs, as part of a public comment period
discussing the ordinances at a Salt
Lake City Council meeting 10 November 2009:
My name is Michael
Otterson, and I am here tonight officially representing The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
ordinances being reviewed by the city council concern important
questions for the people of this community.
Like most of America, our
community in Salt Lake City is comprised of citizens of different
faiths and values, different races and cultures, different
political views and divergent demographics. Across America and
around the world, diverse communities such as ours are wrestling
with complex social and moral questions. People often feel strongly
about such issues. Sometimes they feel so strongly that the ways in
which they relate to one another seem to strain the fabric of our
society, especially where the interests of one group seem to
collide with the interests of another.
The issues before you
tonight are the right of people to have a roof over their heads and
the right to work without being discriminated against. But,
importantly, the ordinances also attempt to balance vital issues of
religious freedom. In essence, the Church agrees with the approach
which Mayor Becker is taking on this matter.
In drafting these
ordinances, the city has granted common-sense rights that should be
available to everyone, while safeguarding the crucial rights of
religious organizations, for example, in their hiring of people
whose lives are in harmony with their tenets, or when providing
housing for their university students and others that preserve
The Church supports these
ordinances because they are fair and reasonable and do not do
violence to the institution of marriage. They are also entirely
consistent with the Church’s prior position on these
matters. The Church remains unequivocally committed to defending
the bedrock foundation of marriage between a man and a woman.
I represent a church that
believes in human dignity, in treating others with respect even
when we disagree – in fact, especially when we disagree.
The Church’s past statements are on the public record for all to
see. In these comments and in our actions, we try to follow what
Jesus Christ taught. Our language will always be respectful and
acknowledge those who differ, but will also be clear on matters
that we feel are of great consequence to our society. Thank