The Mormon church has come out in support of gay rights legislation for the first time in its history, backing a pair of Salt Lake City ordinances passed yesterday by the city council protecting gays from discrimination in housing and employment. "The church supports these ordinances because they are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage," the church's spokesman said.
The laws ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the AP reports. The church's support does not mark a shift in its stance on gay rights, the spokesman added, saying it would continue to defend "the bedrock foundation of marriage between a man and a woman." In August 2008 the church issued a statement saying it supports gay rights related to hospitalization, medical care, housing or probate as long as they "do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches."