The Mormon church has instituted a new policy which prohibits the children of same-sex couples from being members of the church unless they are over the age of 18 and openly reject same-sex unions. Their membership will also require the approval from the church’s top leadership.
Existing Mormons that are already in same-sex marriages will be labeled apostates, and will likely face excommunication following church disciplinary hearings.
The church has long opposed same-sex marriages, and the new policies seem to represent an effort by the church to curb the growing number of Mormons that are either showing support for gay marriage, or coming out as gay themselves.
According to The New York Times, this decision contradicts the tolerance exuded by the church in recent days as it has publicly supported laws that ban same-sex discrimination in the workplace and other areas.
David Campbell, a political science professor at the University of Notre Dame, commented on the church’s struggle to maintain its own religious convictions while also following the law.
The church is walking a fine line between on the one hand recognizing the reality of changing mores in American society externally, but internally holding the line on its own doctrinal rigor — its own beliefs and teachings.
CNN reports that the Mormon handbook has been revised the definition of apostasy to include members of a “same-gender marriage”.
Eric Hawkins, a spokesman from the Mormon church, described the change as a reaffirmation of the church’s stance against same-sex marriage. “While [the reform] 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”, he said.
Some gay members of the church have expressed confusion as to why their children should be impacted by their own lifestyle choices. Scott Fausett, a gay man who has a child in the LDS, told KUTV “It is one thing if the LDS Church doesn’t want me being a gay person in their church — now to exclude children of a gay person just makes no sense to me”.
Others have commented on social media, showing a lack of surprise at the ban.
THIS JUST IN: MORMON CHURCH IS HOMOPHOBIC.
Up next, water is in fact wet.
— ray marquez (@raymarquez54) November 6, 2015
The Mormon church has approximately 6.5 million members across the United States. CNN cited a study that found nearly 66 percent of their members believe that homosexuality should be discouraged.
Over the Summer, the Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee voted to end the ban on gay men that prohibited them from participating in positions of leadership. The Mormon church, which has long supported the Scouts, stood by the decision despite it being against their faith.