Chances are fair, the professor writes at timesandseasons.org, that some Mormons know a same-sex couple personally.
"In one of our Belgian wards, a 17-year-old joined the church — a fine young man, balanced and dedicated, who had been well raised by his two dads," he says. "Though not members, the two fathers later supported their son fully when he decided to go on a mission."
Such tolerance among Mormons is especially true in the Netherlands and Belgium, where same-sex marriage has existed for more than a decade, Decoo says, but in France, which legalized gay marriage last year, "Mormon opinions are more divided, in line with the fierce debate that preceded the French legalization of same-sex marriage."
Fierce divisions among Mormons in Australia have emerged as that country debates the move to legalize gay marriage, he writes.
"A member from Peru told me that Mormons in large urban areas are more lenient and understanding, because LGBT are more visible and more familiar to members," Decoo says, "while in rural areas members easily mention homosexuality in one breath with depravity and abuse. LGBT in such rural areas therefore tend to keep their orientation secret."
In Latvia and Hungary, East European countries "with strong anti-gay feelings," he says, "church members tend to share these anti-feelings and find justification for them in their Mormon belief."
And in African nations such as the Congo, he writes, "most members would consider homosexuality an 'anti-value to morals and mores.' "
Peggy Fletcher Stack