The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, on Friday announced its support for a proposed bill which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of employment and housing.

Under the headline “Gays & The Church” at its relaunched website, the church reiterated its opposition to gay couples marrying.

“The unaltered Church doctrine on marriage being between a man and a woman has generated considerable headlines in recent years as the definition for marriage unfolds state by state. Gay men and women want the financial, legal, and cultural protections of formal marriage. The Church, in turn, wants to retain religious freedom and not be compelled by new federal laws to perform same-sex marriages or to otherwise defy sacred doctrine relating to the nature of marriage and the law of chastity. For all Church members, the law of chastity requires abstinence from sex before and outside of marriage.”

It added: “Church leaders recognize the existence and difficulty of same gender attraction and acknowledge the difference between having same-sex attraction and acting on it. They censure only the latter, and leaders strongly advocate for understanding, inclusion, and kindness toward people of all gender orientations.”

Church spokesman Eric Hawkins explained that this was not a new position for the church.

“The reference to non-discrimination ordinances was meant to reflect the church's support for the 2009 Salt Lake ordinance and is not an announcement of any kind,” he said. “The church has been clear that its support for this specific ordinance was due to language that attempted to balance issues of non-discrimination and religious freedom.”

Utah State Senator Steve Urquhart, a Republican from St. George, is expected to reintroduce his proposed non-discrimination bill next year.