JE - What is the state of the Church for those lesbians and gays? there are some countries allowed same sex marriage, what should we do if we need to obey the law of the land and obey the law of chastity?
JOEL - Those church members who consider themselves gay have no restrictions placed on them in regards to their membership in the church as long as they do not act on their homosexual tendencies. They can hold the priesthood, partake the sacrament, pay tithing, have callings in the church; they can even hold temple recommends and attend the temple as long as they remian celibate. They of course cannot be sealed to a same gender spouse in the temple. Those who are not celibate can attend church but cannot participate in ordinances or hold leadership positions; the same as for any heterosexual person who is having sex outside the bonds of marriage.
The church does not support same gender marriages in any country and no LDS Bishop will ever perform such a marriage, nor is any Bishop forced by any laws in any country to perform such a marriage at this time. Same gender marriage sealings will never be performed in our temples.
The First Presidency issued this statement on same-gender marriages:
"The principles of the gospel and the sacred responsibilities given us require that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints oppose any efforts to give legal authorization to marriages between persons of the same gender.
Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God to fulfill the eternal destiny of His children. The union of husband and wife assures perpetuation of the race and provides a divinely ordained setting for the nurturing and teaching of children. This sacred family setting, with father and mother and children firmly committed to each other and to righteous living, offers the best hope for avoiding many of the ills that afflict society.
We encourage members to appeal to legislators, judges, and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and to reject all efforts to give legal authorization or other official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same gender." (Ensign April 1994)
In the USA it is very unlikley that Bishops of the LDS church will ever be forced to perform gay marriages either civilly or in the temples. The constitutional protection of the free exercise of religion is still in place, and the courts would apply that principle should anyone ever try to bring a lawsuit against the LDS church or any other church over this.
Many countries now allow same sex marriages, but none of them force churches to perform them. Denmark has a law that requires state-run churches to perform gay marriages, but it does not apply to other religions. The church will cooperate with the laws of any land, but for this particular issue it would fight against such enforcement of the law of any country requiring a church to perform same sex marriage.
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