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Mormon church announces support for same-sex marriage bill

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday came out in support of a proposed law that would protect same-sex marriages.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has teed up a vote this week on the bill, dubbed the Respect for Marriage Act, after a bipartisan group of senators unveiled a deal that updated language to assuage GOP members on religious liberty concerns.

“The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints related to marriage between a man and a woman is well known and will remain unchanged,” the church said in a statement.

“We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” the statement continued. “We believe this approach is the way forward.”

The statement marks a shift from 2008, when the church heavily supported efforts to pass Proposition 8 in California, which required the state to recognize only marriages between a man and a woman in attempts to prevent officials from granting same-sex marriage licenses.

After it was delayed until following the midterm elections, a group of five senators — Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) — released an updated version of the Respect for Marriage Act on Monday, signaling they had enough votes to break the Senate filibuster.

Efforts to pass the legislation came after the Supreme Court struck down abortion protections in late June.

Justice Clarence Thomas indicated in a concurring opinion that he believed the court should examine other cases rooted in the same constitutional issue as the abortion case, including the court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges 2015 decision that struck down same-sex marriage bans nationwide.

The bill would require the federal government to recognize a marriage if it was valid in the state where it was performed and guarantee that valid marriages are given full faith and credit in other states.

The senators also indicated the new version of the bill would clarify religious freedom protections, including language confirming that nonprofit religious organizations would not be required to provide any services or facilities for a marriage.

To pass the Senate, the bill would need the support of 10 Republicans, assuming all Democrats vote to support the legislation.

The House earlier this year passed a slightly different version of the bill, which was supported by almost 50 House Republicans.