These Churches Are Starting To Embrace Gay Rights

Photo: Rick Bowmer/AP Photo.
The Mormon church is well known for its opposition to same-sex marriage, but it made a historic donation this week to Salt Lake City LGBT center, its first ever. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints awarded a $2,500 grant to the Utah Pride Center, and while the church has declined to comment on its donation, in a letter to the Center, the church wrote, “We are grateful to be able to serve your efforts in this worthy project and appreciate the work that you and others are doing related to this initiative,” according to Salt Lake City's Fox13. The donation will fund a program for low-income and homeless youth. While the Mormon church spent millions of dollars and dispatched hundreds of volunteers to California during the fight over Prop 8, the state's anti-gay marriage referendum, some Mormon communities have been more accepting, in practice if not in doctrine. A recent survey ranked Salt Lake City as the 7th most LGBT-friendly city out of the country's 50 largest metropolitan areas. And the church supported a recently passed anti-discrimination bill. The LDS Church wasn't the only one to take a big step forward in relations with the LGBTQ community this week. On Wednesday night, the Episcopal Church voted to allow LGBTQ couples to have religious marriage ceremonies. The debate between the church's bishops also took place in Salt Lake City. Not everyone will be able to marry in a church after November 1, when the new resolutions go into effect. The bishops also voted to allow members of the clergy to refuse to perform ceremonies, which means churches in more conservative parts of the country could still effectively bar same-sex religious weddings. The Episcopal Church has been one of the more progressive religious denominations when it comes to LGBTQ acceptance; it elected its first gay bishop in 2003.

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