The Mormon Church announced Tuesday that it will support legislation to federally protect marriage equality.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it would still view same-sex relationships as against church doctrine, according to a news release on its website. However, it explained that it would support marriage equality and the rights of same-sex couples if the Respect for Marriage Act didn't interfere with what the church called its "religious freedom protections."
"We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters," the announcement stated.
"We believe this approach is the way forward. As we work together to preserve the principles and practices of religious freedom together with the rights of LGBTQ individuals, much can be accomplished to heal relationships and foster greater understanding."
The Utah-based church has some 17 million members across the world.
The group is also just one of several high-profile conservative groups that have voiced certain for the legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has said that he will bring the law for a test vote on Wednesday after out senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin announced there was enough Republican support for the bill to pass.
Lawmakers have pushed for the Respect for Marriage Act to be made into law following the concurring opinion of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the case that overturned Roe v. Wade, in which he indicated that the court should reevaluate its earlier decision protecting marriage equality as well as decisions related to interracial marriage and privacy.
What the Respect for Marriage Act will do is require the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed and bar anyone acting under a state law from denying full faith and credit to a marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of the spouses.
Additionally, it would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allowed states to refrain from recognizing those performed in other states. DOMA is unenforceable since its invalidation by the U.S. Supreme Court (the first part in 2013, the second in 2015), but it remains part of federal law.
Utah LGBTQ+ rights group Equality Utah welcomed the news from the church.
"We are heartened to see the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints support the bi-partisan Respect for Marriage Act, which will codify protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. Despite our differences, we can work together and find common ground on laws that support the strengthening of all families," Equality Utah said in a statement posted on Twitter. "This is the way forward."