Four panelists discussed finding common ground between religious freedom and LGBTQ rights in a general session of the Religious Freedom Annual Review at BYU on June 20.
Brett Scharffs, the director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, moderated the forum on the first day of the two-day conference.
Tyler Deaton, president of Allegiance Strategies, spoke about discrimination faced by LGBTQ people, especially transgender people.
“I don’t think that passing a law is going to fix all of that,” Deaton said.
Instead, Deaton emphasized changing the culture to stop discrimination, citing Equality Utah as a successful organization that helps homeless LGBT youth and protects LGBT people from workplace discrimination.
William Eskridge, a professor at Yale Law School, criticized early beliefs that sexual orientation was a choice and criticized conversion therapy practices on LGBT Latter-day Saint youth in the 20th century.
Eskridge warned religion is increasingly being secularized. He said religion contributes positively to society when it focuses on spirituality and not politics or entertainment.
Thomas Berg, professor of law and public policy at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, said LGBT people, just like religious people, should be permitted to express their views in public.
The general session closed the first day of the conference, which explored issues of religious freedom in modern society.