Same Sex Marriages & Children Banned
Children of same sex marriages will not be able to join the Mormon Church until they turn 18 — and only if they move out of their parents’ homes, disavow all same-sex relationships and receive approval from the church’s top leadership as part of a new policy adopted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In addition, Mormons in Mormons in same sex marriages will be considered apostates and subject to excommunication, a more rigid approach than the church has taken in the past.
The new policies were contained in a handbook for lay leaders that was disseminated on Thursday to those who administer the church’s 30,000 congregations around the world. The church made no public announcement of the change, but it was leaked to the news media and confirmed by a church spokesman.
Mormons in same sex marriages will be considered apostates and subject to excommunication
“The church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages,” the spokesman, Eric Hawkins, said in a statement. “While it respects the law of the land, and acknowledges the right of others to think and act differently, it does not perform or accept same-sex marriage within its membership.”
Before the handbook change, bishops and congregational leaders had more discretion in whether or how far to discipline Mormons in same-sex marriages. Now same-sex marriage has been added to a list of conditions considered apostasy, which means Mormons in same-sex marriages will be subject to disciplinary hearings that result in excommunication.
Some liberal Mormons expressed outrage online at the new policies. Jana Riess, a columnist with Religion News Service, said she was livid that children born to those living out of wedlock, as well as rapists and murderers, can be baptized and blessed, but not children of monogamous same-sex couples.
“It’s heartbreaking for me to see my church drawing this line in the sand, which leaves faithful L.G.B.T. members with an impossible choice: They can either be excluded from lifelong love and companionship, or excluded from the blessings of the church,” she said.
The church has actively lobbied against laws legalizing same-sex unions, but has also in recent years supported laws intended to protect gay people from discrimination. In March of this year, leaders at the church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City helped to pass a bill known as the “Utah compromise,” which bans discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in housing and employment but protects religious institutions that do not condone gay relationships.
Click here to read the entire article.
New York Times, by Laurie Goldstein, November 6, 2015