What the LDS church has done in Utah is an immensely important and positive step and places the Mormon church in a far more positive and pro-gay position than any other religious group broadly allied with the Christianist right. They have made a distinction - and it is an admirable, intellectually honest distinction - between respecting the equal rights of other citizens in core civil respects, while insisting - with total justification - on the integrity of one's own religious doctrines, and on a religious institution's right to discriminate in any way with respect to its own rites and traditions.
In the Midsouth, more evangelicals are "coming out" for LGBT equality in measured ways. In a Nov. 11 Letter to the Editor of the Memphis Flyer, two evangelical Christians wrote in support of legislation establishing LGBT-inclusive workplace protections:
We wish to register our support for the proposed amendment to Memphis Ordinance 9, which is intended to establish a nondiscrimination provision regarding sexual orientation or gender identity.
As Christians belonging to Bible-believing churches in Memphis, we feel obligated to note that the dominant evangelical voices heard in the Memphis media do not reflect the views of many evangelicals in our community. We are in agreement with evangelical opponents of this amendment on many issues, including the uniqueness of Jesus and the nonnegotiable nature of biblical ethics. But we believe that the protection of economic rights for all our fellow Memphians is an important part of showing love and support for the dignity of people created in the image of God, their Creator.
Our hope is that this amendment not only discourages discrimination but fosters relationships among diverse segments of our community.
The landscape for dialogue and acceptance of basic rights is changing. Can you imagine these sorts of positions expressed by faith leaders 5, 10, or 20 years ago?