Mormons try a more muted strategy against gay marriage second time around in Hawaii

With the Hawaii Legislature poised to usher in the legalization of same-sex marriage, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appears to be shifting its approach from offense to defense.

While the church remains opposed to same-sex marriage — one of the faith’s top leaders, Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, defended the position in an official address in Salt Lake City on Sunday — the church is taking a decidedly lower-key approach in Hawaii.

Mormon leaders have issued a letter asking members to contact state legislators in support of a robust exemption for Hawaiian churches, businesses and individuals who believe that promoting same-sex marriage violates their religion.

“Whether or not you favor the proposed change, we hope that you will urge your elected representatives to include in any such legislation a strong exemption for people and organizations of faith,” says the letter, dated Sept. 15.

That includes protecting “individuals and small businesses from being required to assist in promoting or celebrating same-sex marriages,” the letter says.

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