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Prince Research Excerpts on Gay Rights & Mormonism – “28a – Harry Reid”

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28a – Harry Reid


“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says gay Americans should be able to get married, a new position that shows President Barack Obama isn’t the only politician whose views are evolving.

Reid, D-Nev., is the highest-ranking Mormon in the U.S. government and up until now has said he agrees with his faith’s opposition to gay marriage, but on Wednesday, Reid aligned himself with Obama’s newfound embrace for the legalization of same-sex unions.

‘My personal belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman. But in a civil society, I believe that people should be able to marry whomever they want, and it’s no business of mine if two men or two women want to get married,’ Reid said.

On Thursday, reporters asked Reid if he would vote to legalize same sex marriage if it was on the ballot in Nevada and he nodded yes, even though he previously voted for the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Reid’s stance is far from the stated position of the LDS Church, which considers homosexual behavior a sin and has repeatedly campaigned against attempts to sanction same-sex relationships, though in recent years it has supported political efforts to provide some legal protections to gay people.

Mitt Romney, a Mormon and the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, has stuck close to the LDS position, telling a Denver TV reporter Wednesday: ‘I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender and I don’t favor civil unions if they’re identical to marriage other than by name. My view is domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights and the like are appropriate, but the others are not.’

On more than one occasion, Reid has found his views on issues surrounding gay marriage departing from those of his faith, not that this would in any way threaten his standing in the church. LDS leaders regularly point to its statement on relationships with government, which says public officials who are Mormon make their own decisions and may not agree ‘with one another or even with a publicly stated church position.’

Church leaders have argued the legalization of gay marriage would undermine the centuries-old institution sanctioned by God. That’s a position Reid dismissed Wednesday.

‘The idea that allowing two loving, committed people to marry would have any impact on my life, or on my family’s life, always struck me as absurd,’ Reid said.…” (Matt Canham, “Harry Reid says he supports gay marriage,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 10, 2012)


“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says members of his faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are gradually evolving in their views on LGBT rights.

‘When I attend church here in Washington, D.C., I bet more people agree with me than disagree with me, and so the church is changing,’ the senior senator for Nevada told the Washington Blade Wednesday.

Mormon teachings have traditionally condemned homosexuality, which they view as violating God’s law. The church has also been instrumental in campaigning against marriage equality in the U.S., most notably so in California’s Proposition 8 fight in 2008. However, five years later, as Congress considers a bill to ban employment discrimination against LGBT workers, Reid said he’s noticed a switch in Mormon attitudes toward LGBT people.

‘As I was growing up, somebody who was ‘queer’ was really easy to pick on,’ he told the Blade. ‘I was not in that category, but I saw it happen, and I didn’t do enough to speak out.’” (Michelle Garcia, “Harry Reid: Mormons Are Evolving on LGBT Rights,” Advocate, November 7, 2013)


“More so than his Republican colleagues, Mr. Reid has distanced himself from some of his church’s attitudes toward homosexuality, most notably saying its involvement in the California same-sex marriage fight was wrongheaded.

But he has not always been so open-minded, and in 1996 voted for the Defense of Marriage Act.

In an interview on Thursday, he recalled how he once considered sexual orientation ‘kind of an environmental thing,’ but said he later realized that orientation was not in fact a choice.

He has a lesbian niece who he said had ‘helped us work our way through the issues.’ He recalled having two neighbors in Nevada he always called ‘the bachelors.’ Thinking of them now, he said, he realizes they must have been gay. ‘Let’s assume they got married. What difference would it make to me and my family? Zero. None. None,’ Mr. Reid said.

He has already been to two same-sex weddings this year, including one where he gave a toast to the grooms.

Mormons, who have seen their own share of bias, should be especially sensitive, he said. ‘I would think that members of the church should understand that one of the things that should be paramount in their minds,’ he said, ‘is how they’ve been treated.’” (Jeremy W. Peters, “Senate Bill on Bias Against Gays Finds Support in Mormons,” New York Times, November 7, 2013)


“Mormons are among those whose attitudes have shifted in five years, according to Sen. Harry Reid. When asked by the Washington Blade Wednesday how he reconciled his faith with his support of gay rights, and he said he wasn’t the only Mormon who shared his views.

‘When I attend church here in Washington, D.C., I bet more people agree with me than disagree with me, and so the church is changing, and that’s good,’ he said.…” (Hunter Schwarz, “Why Prop 8 Was Good for LGBT Mormons,” BuzzFeed LGBT, November 8, 2013)