By Derrick DePledge
The Mormon church has issued a second statement on the prospect of gay marriage in Hawaii, this time clearly stating the church's opposition.
Last month, the church issued a statement that urged members to study the issue and to contact state lawmakers about including a strong religious exemption in the bill. The second letter is more direct.
From the Deseret News:
On Sunday, local LDS Church leaders read a letter to the adult men and women organizations of local congregations stressing the church's position against same-sex marriage and the bill:
"There are two reasons for our opposition: First, it attempts to redefine marriage. The church is firm in its belief that marriage as the union of a man and a woman is essential to the well-being of children, families, and society. Second, the protections offered in the current draft are completely inadequate to safeguard constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms. Traditional marriage and religious liberty are among the most cherished and historically vital elements of society, and both deserve careful protection."
The letter signed by local stake leadership expressed respect for those "who choose to live by other values," and urges church members to "educate yourselves on these matters and to let your voice be heard through the democratic process. We encourage you to call, write and visit your elected representatives to let them know where you stand. Join your voices with others in organizations who share your views."
The letter was the second the LDS Church has presented to members about the bill and upcoming special session. A letter read by local leaders on Sept. 14 advised members to study the church's 1995 Proclamation on the Family, which speaks out against gay marriage, and call their legislators to express their views.
"Whether or not you favor the proposed change, we hope that you will urge your elected representatives to include in any such legislation a strong exemption for people and organizations of faith," stated a copy of the letter from the Mililani Stake Presidency, one of 15 stakes in Hawaii where more than 71,000 Mormons live.
The earlier letter didn't sit right with some of the leading opponents of gay marriage who saw it as emphasizing an exemption instead of opposing the bill.