Can members support same-sex marriage and remain in good standing?

March 17, 2015

Cross posted to By Common Consent.
By Emily Jensen
Taking a cue from Doctrine and Covenants 6:28, I thought I’d pull together and transcribe some of the recent discussions about whether or not members can support same-sex marriage and still remain in good standing.
And, if you need it, here is a temple-recommend, wallet-sized printable that you may want to laminate for easy reference:
Now for the longer versions of the answer to the post title.
A TribTalk with Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder D. Todd Christofferson by Jennifer Napier-Pearce, aired January 28.  Relevant part starts at minute 9.
Jennifer Napier-Pearce, in summarizing questions from listeners: Can members support same-sex marriage and still be members of good standing? Can someone march in a parade to support family members?
Elder Christofferson: “We have members, individual members in the Church with a variety of different opinions and beliefs and positions on these issues and other issues, reflect back on the Equal Rights Amendment years ago, this isn’t the first issue, in our view it doesn’t become a problem unless someone is out attacking the church and its leaders, if that’s a deliberate and persistent effort, trying to get others to follow them, to draw others away, trying to pull people out of the church, or away from its teachings and doctrines. That’s very different for us, than someone who feels one way or another on a political stance or a particular action to support a group, Affirmation or any others that you named, these are things that there are fine lines here and there.”
An interview with KUTV news of Utah published March 14, 2015 by Daniel Woodruff with Elder D. Todd Christofferson. Relevant part starts at minute 4:30.
Daniel Woodruff: Can members of the church support gay marriage that the church teaches against?
Elder Christofferson: Well there is a diversity of opinion in that regard and that’s always been true on many subjects over the years, over the decades. And we don’t have qualms of that. We urge people, for example, to take part in the political process and we don’t tell them how to vote and who to vote for, but that they exercise their own good judgment and make their decisions. That’s obviously different for those who attack the church and hinder it’s work. But for anyone perusing their view of what ought to happen in a community, that’s what we want to see, frankly.
Daniel Woodruff:Would supporting gay marriage threaten someone’s membership in the church if they went out on facebook or twitter and actively advocated it?
Elder Christofferson: No, that’s not an organized effort to attack our effort or attack our functioning as a church.
Daniel Woodruff: So members can hold these beliefs even though they are different from what you preach for the pulpit.
Elder Christofferson: Yes, our approach in all of this is, as Joseph Smith said, is persuasion. He said you can’t use the priesthood or the authority of the church to dictate. You can’t compel you can’t coerce, it has to be gentleness, persuasion, love unfeigned as the words are in the scripture.
An interview with church spokesman Michael Purdy with RadioWest, aired March 16, 2015. Relevant part starts at minute 49.
Doug Fabrizio: Can members support same-sex marriage and still be members of good standing?
Michael Purdy: There is a diversity of view on any given topic when you have 15 million members of a faith living globally. So of course those differing views are accommodated. The problem you get into is what does that look like publicly. What form does that differing view take.
Doug Fabrizio: So if they go out and attack the church, for example, that could be a problem, but if they hold that position privately, they can have their own opinion related to same-sex marriage, say support in same sex marriage and still reamin members of good standing in the LDS Faith?
Michael Purdy: Right. Whenever you’ve heard the church talk about these issues, they’ve always recognized that people will have differing views and these can be difficult issues, they can be divisive, but to try to bridge that divisiveness and much as possible, understanding that that is the reality and then calling for the civility in the dialogue that surrounds that and when that happens there aren’t many problems.
Question and answer session at Brookings Institute panel on Gays, Mormons, and the Constitution held March 16, 2015. Relevant part starts about minute 43.
Stephen Short asked, in effect, considering the history of the church will the doctrine of marriage change anytime soon?
Michael Leavitt, former governor of Utah: “I’m not a spokesperson of the church, I’m not an officer of the church, I want to make that clear. I believe that the doctrine of the church is as it is and it will remain. It is between one man and one woman. But I also think it’s important to acknowledge this: there is a narrative about the church that I think is fundamentally wrong. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has fifteen million members. It has status in a 195 countries. It operates under governments that are communist, monarchies and democracies. It has members as diverse as Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch, both who can stand on the floor of the United States Senate and debate the opposite sides of this issue (gay marriage) and at the at the same moment both be considered very good practicing members in the church. What they have in common is a belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the commitments they have made.”