Same-sex marriages will not be allowed to take place in LDS meetinghouses.

In a statement released by the LDS Church on Friday, the church reasserted its belief that marriage is between a man and a woman and stated that church leaders have been instructed to not permit any activities related to gay marriages to take place on church-owned property.

"Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages. Nevertheless, all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises so long as they respect our standards of conduct while there," read the statement.

The church called for all parties involved in the gay marriage debate in Utah to be civil as the discussions move forward.

The church also stated that changes to civil law will not change the church's position on the issue.

"Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society," it said.

The church's statement came on yet another day of twists and turns in the same-sex marriage saga in the state of Utah. Earlier in the day the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would recognize all of Utah's same-sex marriages that were performed when the marriages were legal in the state.

"I am confirming today, that for purposes of federal law, that these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a released statement. "These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds."

Earlier in the week the state of Utah said it would not honor the licenses for same-sex marriages it had earlier issued when it came to granting state benefits to same-sex couples. The state has said the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to grant a stay on Judge Robert Shelby's ruling, which overturned Utah's ban on same-sex marriages, returned Utah to its non same-sex marriage status, leaving those who had been married unable to obtain marriage benefits from the state, such as filing jointly on their tax returns.

"We are unable to reach a legal conclusion as to the ultimate validity of marriage  between persons of the same sex who completed their marriage ceremony in Utah between Dec 20, 2013 and Jan. 6, 2014. That question remains unanswered and the answer will depend on the result of the appeal process," said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes earlier this week when Utah announced its decision about the same-sex marriages. "The Office of the Attorney General has advised the Governor in this case and will continue to work with the Governor and the individual agencies as they evaluate the application of specific policies and benefits within their agencies. A review team has been established to advise on a case-by-case basis."

Gov. Gary Herbert's office has directed state agencies to follow state laws when dealing with state matters and federal laws when dealing with federal issues.

In addition to the federal government decision to honor Utah's same-sex marriages, a rally was held at Utah's state capitol on Friday to urge Herbert to allow Shelby's ruling to stand in the state.

The Associated Press reported hundreds packed the capitol's rotunda for the rally. The first same-sex couple married in Utah spoke at the event, and petitions containing more than 40,000 signatures asking that same-sex marriage be allowed in Utah were turned in to the governor's office.

Timeline:

Nov. 2, 2004 - Utah Voters approve Amendment 3 to the Utah Constitution. The amendment states that marriage consists of only the legal union between a man and a woman.

March 25, 2013 - Three same-sex couples file a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Utah seeking to overturn Utah's ban on gay marriage.

Dec. 4, 2013 - The court hears arguments from the same-sex couples and the state on the same-sex marriage issue.

Dec. 20, 2013 - District Judge Robert Shelby rules against the state and overturns Utah's same-sex marriage ban. Same-sex couples rush to county clerk offices to obtain marriage licenses. State files for an emergency stay on Shelby's ruling and is denied.

Dec. 23, 2013 - The state of Utah asks the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to grant a stay on Shelby's ruling. Utah County Clerk/Auditor Bryan Thompson announces Utah County will not issue same-sex marriage licenses until the court of appeals rules on the request for stay.

Dec. 26, 2013 - The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denies Utah's request for stay on Shelby's ruling. Utah County begins issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Dec. 31, 2013 - The Utah Attorney General's office files a request for stay on judge Shelby's ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The attorney general's office begins accepting applications for outside counsel for the same-sex marriage case.

January 6, 2014 - The U.S. Supreme Court grants Utah's request for stay on Judge Shelby's ruling halting same-sex marriages in Utah.

January 7, 2014 - The Utah Attorney General's office extends its deadline interested parties to apply to be outside counsel on the state's same-sex marriage case in order to increase competition among the applicants.

January 10, 2014 - The LDS Church issues a statement reaffirming its opposition to same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriage supporters rally at the State Capitol and turn in petitions asking Gov. Gary Herbert to let Judge Shelby's ruling stand.

billy-hesterman
-- Billy Hesterman covers the Utah State Legislature and local politics for the Daily Herald. You can connect with Billy by email at bhesterman@heraldextra.com or by

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Timeline: Gay Marriage in Utah