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LDS Church responds to inquiries about Harry Reid comment

Published: Thursday, Nov. 7 2013 10:01 p.m. MST

Politico reported Wednesday night that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members are changing their views on gay rights. The church reacted Thursday evening by issuing a statement that indicated its doctrine about traditional marriage has not changed.

J. Scott Applewhite, AP

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SALT LAKE CITY — Politico reported Wednesday night that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members are changing their views on gay rights.

The church reacted Thursday evening by issuing a statement that indicated its doctrine about traditional marriage has not changed.

In between, the Senate voted 64-32 Thursday afternoon to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which if it were passed by the House and signed by the president would make it a crime for employers to discriminate on the basis of a person’s sexual identification.

The Time blog Swampland called it unlikely the House will pass the bill.

Politico reported that Reid, who is LDS, told a group of reporters, most of them working for LGBT publications according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that his social views have shifted over time to support issues like ENDA. He said he thought that was true of other Latter-day Saints.

The church did not directly address the broad range of LGBT rights. It responded to media inquiries with its statement, which read in part, "As the church has said before, elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated church position.

"On the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the church has not taken a position. On the question of same-sex marriage, the church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with kindness and understanding. If it is being suggested that the church’s doctrine on this matter is changing, that is incorrect.

"Marriage between a man and a woman is central to God’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. As such, traditional marriage is a foundational doctrine and cannot change."

On Thursday, Reid was joined in voting for the ENDA bill by LDS Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Dean Heller, R-Nev., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Tom Udall, D-N.M.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who is LDS, voted against the bill, as did Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.

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