What is LDS Church policy regarding civil unions?
When you refer to “civil unions”, I am assuming you mean civil marriages between a man and a woman that has been performed by an individual authorized by the local government. The Church recognizes these marriages as binding. They are honorable unions and there is no sin involved in these marriages.
We have always been counseled to obey the laws of the land, even when governments have not protected the rights of our members. The 12th Article of Faith states: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” Doctrine and Covenants section 134 is a statement regarding governments and laws in general. This statement was adopted by the Church in August 1835 by a unanimous vote.
Governments in some countries have not given our Priesthood Leaders authority to perform marriages. In these cases, the couple must be be married civilly prior to being sealed in the Temple. This is especially true when the couple is being sealed in a Temple that is not located within the country they reside. The Church supports the governments rulings in these cases as well and will not perform the sealing until the couple is legally married.
Because these marriages are performed under civil law, they are only binding for the duration of the couple’s life here on this earth. Members who have been married civilly will be strongly encouraged to be sealed in the Temple so that there union is both for time and eternity.