(SAN DIEGO) — The Empowering Spirits Foundation (ESF), a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today applauded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for endorsing the employment and housing non-discrimination acts now before the Salt Lake City Council.
The ESF was one of the first LGBT organizations to approach the Mormon Church after the Church influenced its members to spend millions for the passage of Proposition 8 in California. The 2008 referendum on gay marriage became the most costly in United States history, and passed by 52 percent to restrict marriage to be between only a man and a woman.
Following the contentious November, 2008 election, ESF officials attempted on numerous occasions to meet with LDS leaders to foster dialogue between the LGBT community and the Church. And just last week the ESF in conjunction with the Foundation for Reconciliation presented to the Church a petition signed by thousands of individuals seeking to open up communication with the Church on LGBT issues.
“We’ve worked hard to engage the church to discuss LGBT issues and get past the bitterness of Prop. 8, and I am encouraged by their recent endorsement of the Salt Lake City non-discrimination housing and employment acts,” said A. Latham Staples, ESF President & CEO. “We have a long way to go though before trust can be restored with the Mormon Church. But it is time that we move on from Prop. 8, and focus on building relationships, understanding our differences, and focusing on our similarities – this is the only way we can change people’s minds and hearts.”
The Salt Lake City ordinances would make discrimination unlawful against any person because of their sexual orientation or gender when looking for a job or seeking to buy or rent a home.