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LDS Church representatives discuss support of non-discrimination ordinance



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SALT LAKE CITY -- KSL's Doug Wright opened his radio show Wednesday morning with what everyone is still talking about: a very strong statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in support of issues of extreme importance to Utah's gay community.

LDS Church representatives joined Doug Wright's discussion on Salt Lake City's newly-passed non-discrimination ordinances. They said the Church simply did what was right for all citizens of the city.

"We're extremely encouraged by the reaction. Across the board, very, very positive reaction," said Michael Otterson, managing director of public affairs for the LDS Church.

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On Tuesday night, Otterson read a statement from Church leaders, who support the rights to employment and housing.

Otterson said the city invited Church comment, and a number of conversations with Utah's gay community leaders preceded the meeting.

"I also am absolutely delighted to be standing in solidarity with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in support," former Salt Lake City council member Deeda Seed said.

Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake City, said, "I'd like to publicly thank The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a very compassionate and brave step to endorse this ordinance."

The Church representatives said they anticipate negative reaction from gay groups who want more and from political conservatives who fear concessions. They are, however, encouraged by what happened Tuesday night.

"I think this was democracy at its finest," Otterson said. "When you get people of very different viewpoints, very different perspectives, coming together and expressing themselves in very respectful ways - I am impressed by that."

In what is now a diverse community, they said, this was a return to civility.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

Carole Mikita

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