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Like religious adherents across the nation, Utah faith groups were divided in their reactions to Friday's Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage throughout the U.S. some were disappointed, others exhilarated.
Utah's two largest religions, the predominant LDS Church and Salt Lake City's Catholic Diocese, maintain that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and neither church is about to bend its teachings or its opposition to gay marriage.
The high court has jurisdiction in civil laws, but not over heavenly decrees, they argue, and both faiths want to keep it that way.
"The court's decision does not alter the Lord's doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God," The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a news release. "While showing respect for those who think differently, the church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice."
Given the Constitution's freedom-of-religion protections, enshrined in the First Amendment, the ruling does not force churches to recognize same-sex marriages.
That means, of course, that marriages performed in LDS temples will continue to be between only faithful men and women. Mormons view such marriages as lasting for eternity.
LDS leaders teach that same-sex attraction is not a sin, only acting on it is.
Top Mormon officials, including apostle D. Todd Christofferson, also have said Latter-day Saints who support gay marriage are not in danger of losing their church memberships or temple privileges.
The Salt Lake City Diocese, which oversees Utah's 300,000-plus Catholics, said the court's ruling does not end "the debate over the definition of marriage."
"As Catholics, we seek to uphold our traditional belief in marriage as a sacrament, a well established and divinely revealed covenant between one man and one woman, a permanent and exclusive bond meant to provide a nurturing environment for children and the fundamental building block to a just society," the diocese said in a statement. "Although we respectfully disagree with those who would define marriage otherwise, we firmly hold that all persons are loved by our compassionate God and deserve the respect and dignity that is inherently theirs as human beings."
Utah Catholics "acknowledge the right of our nation's highest court to provide for a well-ordered society," the statement added, "by establishing laws that protect the common good and safeguard the civil and contractual rights and privileges of its citizens."
At the same time, however, the diocese urged Utah "lawmakers and judges to respect those institutions that are beyond state and federal jurisdiction, institutions such as sacramental marriage that transcend civil law and whose origins precede the existence of the state and go beyond its competence."
Imam Muhammed Mehtar, who leads services at the Khadeeja Islamic Center in West Valley City, took much the same approach.
"It is our duty to teach that which is good and refrain from that which is poor in choice," Mehtar said. "God wishes us to continue procreation for the sake of sharing good, kind, loving values."
By that, the imam means in "traditional" male-female led families.
Still, Muslims live in a country "whose values are secular," Mehtar said. "In such an environment, we feel that when individuals make choices that are contrary to us, we will try to defend them, their safety and well-being. We will never say, 'Hurt gays and lesbians, or take away their rights, or that they are less human than we are.' "
Muslims should simply say, he explained, that "we have different values."
Other people of faith cheered the ruling.
The Rev. Patty C. Willis of South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, who is married to her longtime partner, Mary Lou Prince, expressed amazement and appreciation for the decision's "affirmation of the humanity of LGBTQ Americans."
The ruling "gives meaning to the hard work and courage of those who risked everything to be wholly themselves," Willis said. "Through uncountable small and great acts of courage, our country has transformed."
For members of Christ United Methodist Church in Holladay, the Rev. Jean Schwien said, "it's a wonderful feeling."
Long supportive of gay rights, Schwien said the congregation is "so grateful that people we know and love are seen as having the same status as heterosexual couples."
Utah Episcopal Bishop Scott B. Hayashi, who is playing host to his church's General Convention in Salt Lake City this week, exulted at the news.
"I am joyful that all can now share in the sacred unity of marriage," Hayashi said in a statement. "I am especially happy for the children of LGBT parents who now can enjoy equal standing with their friends whose parents are heterosexual."
Because he believes that "all are made in God's image," the bishop said, he has been "praying and hoping for today's decision to recognize marriage equality throughout our land."
Still, Hayashi knows that gay marriage is "of great and troubling concern to many good people."
He hopes now that all Utahns, no matter what their religion or perspective, can come together "to heal some profound scars that have been magnified by debate."
Hayashi is, he said, praying for that.
Tribune editor David Noyce contributed to this story