SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congratulated and thanked those involved in the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act in a recently released statement.

The Church previously expressed its support for the RFMA in a statement released in November, calling this bill “the way forward” as it protects both religious freedoms while “preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.”

Both statements upheld the Church’s stance on marriage being a union between man and woman and said that it “will remain unchanged.”

The RFMA, signed by President Biden on Dec. 13, provides the first federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriage. In doing so, it repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

In addition, the RFMA provides protection for religious freedoms by prohibiting any lawsuits against religious groups should they deny services to same-sex or interracial couples.

“Diverse beliefs about the role of gender in marriage are held by reasonable and sincere people based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises. Therefore, Congress affirms that such people and their diverse beliefs are due proper respect,” the RFMA draft stated. 

The statement from the Church refers to this section saying “The new law demonstrates that respect. The law states that it can’t be used to harm religious or conscience rights for faith-based institutions . . . No law is perfect. But putting such protections in the federal code is a big step forward.”

The statement concludes by saying the Church’s involvement in both the RFMA and Utah’s anti-discrimination bill in 2015 is part of the same effort to help the United States “pursue freedom, fairness and respect for all.”