The Mormon Church on Thursday said that
it was rolling back its controversial 2015 policy that allowed
officials to oust married gays and their children.
The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints' changes to the Mormon handbook classified gay
married Mormons as “apostates” and prohibited the children of
such marriages from blessing or baptism until age 18 and only if they
disavow same-sex relationships. Classifying same-sex couples as
“apostates” meant they could be excommunicated.
The church said in a news release that
the changes are “effective immediately” and “should help
“Previously, our Handbook
characterized same-gender marriage by a member as apostasy,” the
church wrote. “While we still consider such a marriage to be a
serious transgression, it will not be treated as apostasy for
purposes of Church discipline. Instead, the immoral conduct in
heterosexual or homosexual relationships will be treated in the same
In a tweet, the church said that the
new policy would “show more understanding, compassion and love”
to gay and lesbian couples.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, cheered the news, calling the
church's move a “welcome change that moves the church to a day
where LGBTQ Mormons can see themselves affirmed and included in their
faith and community.”
Critics of the 2015 policy said that it
harmed the children of gay couples and those who identify as LGBT. In
Utah, where a majority of the population is Mormon, suicide is the
leading cause of death for children 10 to 17.