SALT LAKE CITY – More states and nations may legalize same-sex marriage, but human laws cannot “make moral what God has declared immoral,” a top Mormon leader said Sunday.
Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, in an address at the Mormon church’s biannual general conference in Salt Lake City, said the faith’s stance against same-sex marriage might be misunderstood or prompt accusations of bigotry.
But he urged members to remember that their first priority is to serve God, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ policies are based on God’s decrees, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
An LDS eternal perspective does not allow members “to condone such behaviours or to find justification in the laws that permit them,” Oaks said. “And unlike other organizations that can change their policies and even their doctrines, our policies are determined by the truths God has declared to be unchangeable.”
Some 20,000 Mormons gathered at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and millions more watched worldwide via telecasts and the Internet to hear Oaks’ remarks on the final day of the two-day conference.
Oaks, a former Utah Supreme Court justice, bemoaned America’s declining birthrate, later marriages and rising cohabitation.
He cited the changes as evidence of “political and social pressures for legal and policy changes to establish behaviours contrary to God’s decrees about sexual morality and the eternal nature and purposes of marriage and child-bearing.”
The Mormon church teaches that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but acting on it is.
“Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters,” the church website states.