As conflicts over gay rights (including marriage) and religious conscience proliferate around the country and in the courts, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January proffered a less confrontational—though still controversial—approach, proposing a tandem expansion of anti-discrimination protections for gays along with religious-liberty protections for the faithful. That announcement sparked an effort in the Utah legislature to pass a statewide gay-rights law with both LGBT and Mormon support.
On March 16, Governance Studies at Brookings and The Deseret News hosted an event to discuss gay rights, religious exemptions, and the Mormon proposal. What is the LDS church seeking to accomplish? What were the results in Utah? And, more broadly, are there opportunities to de-escalate the hardening national conflict and perhaps even find win-wins? Those questions were examined in a pair of Brookings panels featuring key players from Utah as well as leading national experts.