Mormons ‘tweak’ harsh new anti-gay rules… but don’t expect a miracle
The Mormon Church has ‘tweaked’ a policy that bans children raised by gay couples, amid fury from members – but it doesn’t do much to quell fears.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, revealed harsh new policies in its updated guidebooks this month.
The new rules state that gay people who marry are ‘apostates’ – meaning they are viewed as having abandoned the Church.
The Church also affirmed that all children living with same-sex parents or guardians will be barred from being baptised or becoming Church members for the entirety of their childhood.
The only way that devout Mormons with same-sex parents can now become members is by waiting until they’re of “legal age”, leaving home, and “disavowing the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage”.
Following fury from members, with thousands of Mormons planning a mass resignation from the Church, the leadership has made a minor “tweak”… but it’s not likely to make anyone happier.
The change keeps all of the homophobic rules intact – but makes it clear that kids who are already part of the Church won’t be kicked out.
The Church’s First Presidency said in a statement: “The provisions of Handbook 1, Section 16.13 , that restrict priesthood ordinances for minors, apply only to those children whose primary residence is with couple living in a same-gender marriage or similar relationship.
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“When a child living with such a same-gender couple has already been baptized and is actively participating in the Church, provisions of 16.13 do not require that his or her membership activities or priesthood privileges be curtailed or that further ordinances be withheld.
“Decisions about any future ordinances for such children should be made by local leaders with their prime consideration being the preparation and best interests of the child.
“All children are to be treated with utmost respect and love. They are welcome to attend Church meetings and participate in Church activities. All children may receive priesthood blessings of healing and spiritual guidance.”
Troy Williams of Equality Utah said: “The past week has been difficult for both the Mormon and LGBT communities. There has been particular pain amongst families with both LDS and LGBT members.
“The new clarification from the Church helps children who are being raised by both gay and heterosexual parents. However, we are disappointed that children born of same-sex parents must still ‘disavow’ their parent’s marriage.
“This is a hurtful requirement for any child. We are grateful for the outpouring of love from many members in the LDS Church who have reached out with compassion toward our community. We have felt your love.
“We are also grateful to the many open and affirming faith congregations throughout Utah who welcome LGBT families without exception.”