The Church of Latter-Day Saints has just come out against marriage equality…again.
The Mormon church, which began allowing gay parents to baptize their children in 2015–the same year marriage equality became legal across the United states–reaffirmed it’s opposition to marriage equality in a scathing statement by church President Russell Nelson.
“Because parents are the primary exemplars for their children, we did not want to put young children in the position of having to choose between beliefs and behavior they learned at home and what they were taught at church,” Nelson said in a statement meant to explain the perceived contradiction between allowing children of gay parents into the church while denying the right of marriage to same-sex couples. “We wanted to facilitate harmony in the home and avoid pitting children and parents against each other. We knew that this policy created concern and confusion for some and heartache for others. That grieved us. Whenever the sons and daughters of God weep — for whatever reasons — we weep. So, our supplications to the Lord continued.”
When it comes to marriage, Nelson slammed unions granted outside the church. “In the beginning, marriage was ordained by God,” he said. “And to this day it is defined by him as being between a man and a woman. God has not changed his definition of marriage.” Nelson then admitted the inclusion of same-sex families in the church was for cynical reasons: to “build up the church” and increase the Mormon population.
The Church of Latter-Day Saints has a sordid and controversial history within the United States, beginning with conception under original leader Joseph Smith, a noted bigamist. In contemporary times, the church has brought attention for mistreatment of LGBTQ people, especially youth. The church also attracted criticism for dark money campaigns to help pass California Prop. 8, which banned marriage equality, in 2008.