Gay and lesbian Mormons and their supporters are reeling over a rule change by church officials that says members in same-sex marriages can be kicked out and their children are to be barred from being baptized unless they disavow homosexual relationships.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints disseminated the handbook changes this week to local church leaders around the world. The goal was to provide clarity to lay leaders who run congregations, church spokesman Eric Hawkins said.
Hawkins noted the church is simply reiterating its doctrine, which clearly states homosexual activity is a sin and that God intended marriage be between a man and a woman.
“The Church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages,” 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.”
The changes come as other religious groups that oppose gay marriage struggle with how to approach the issue of children of same-sex spouses.
The new rules stipulate that children of parents in gay or lesbian relationships – be it marriage or just living together – can no longer receive blessings as infants, be baptized when they are about 8 years old, or serve mission as young adults unless they:
- Disavow the practice of same-sex relationships.
- Turn 18 and no longer live with gay parents.
- Get approval from their local leader and the highest leaders at church headquarters in Salt Lake City.Read the full story HERE.
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