Saturday, President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles clarified the church’s support of the Respect for Marriage Act because of its “necessary protections for religious freedom” in an address to church leaders in Chicago, Illinois.

The Respect for Marriage Act became Public Law No: 117-228 when it was signed by President Biden on December 13, 2022. According to the Congress website this law primarily “provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.”

In his remarks, almost two months after the passing of the bill, President Oaks clarified the implications of this law on religious freedom that were not included in previously proposed marriage bills.

“As signed into law, the Respect for Marriage Act included valuable provisions to assure that no federal or state laws could be used to harm the religious or conscience rights of faith-based institutions or their members,” said President Oaks. “In the end, the total law ensures that religious organizations, religious schools, and their staff do not have to perform or host same-sex marriages or celebrations. It protects the tax-exempt status of religious organizations. It protects the grants, licenses, contracts and accreditation of religious schools. And it specifically provides that its own provisions cannot be used to violate anyone’s rights to religious freedom.

Putting such protections in the federal law was a big step forward. We will be alert to proposed future state action and legislation as we continue our defense of religious freedom.”

On Dec. 13, 2022, the church released an official statement on the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act, extending a “heartfelt thank you and our congratulations to all who played a part in the passage of the amended Respect for Marriage Act.”

In this statement, it was reiterated that “the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints related to marriage between a man and a woman is well known and will remain unchanged,” but the new law was an affirmation from Congress that our beliefs “are due proper respect.”

To read more about President Oaks’ remarks, visit the church website or watch a video of his statement on Instagram.