‘Mormon Land’: Is the church shifting on same-sex marriage or stuck in neutral?

Does backing of the Respect for Marriage Act represent a progressive policy change or does the religious exemption make the move hollow?

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune A couple marry in 2014 in Salt Lake City. The "Mormon Land" podcast this week focuses on the Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify same-sex marriage.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stunned many insiders and outsiders recently when it voiced support for an amended version of the Respect for Marriage Act, a federal measure designed to codify same-sex marriage while shielding religious organizations from fully embracing such unions.

While that exemption allows the Utah-based faith and Brigham Young University, for instance, to continue their present LGBTQ policies, the monumental move nonetheless marked the first time the church has acknowledged the legitimacy of civil same-sex marriage, a practice it has famously preached and politicked against.

Many members were delighted; some were dismayed. Either way, the announcement represented a sort-of middle-way path that the church and its top leaders, including First Presidency member Dallin Oaks, have been following and advocating for more than a decade.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency delivers the 2021 Joseph Smith Lecture in the Dome Room of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. In his speech, he called for compromise in balancing religious freedoms and LGBTQ rights.

On this week’s show, Erika Munson, a co-founder of Mormons Building Bridges and currently a board member and co-founder of Emmaus LGBTQ Ministry, and Addison Graham, a BYU student who wrote about the church’s move in The Washington Post, discuss what this shift may mean for the church, its members, its teachings, its policies and its place in society — now and in the future.

Listen here: