Mormon Church Lifts Ban on Baptisms for Children of Gay Parents

Mormon Church drops ban on baptizing kids of LGBTI parents

Mormon Church drops ban on baptizing kids of LGBTI parents

Children of LGBT parents can now be blessed or baptised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, church officials declared in a new policy on Thursday, dramatically reversing a 2015 decision to exclude those children from the rituals until they were 18.

The church in 2015 enacted new rules that would ban children living in a same-sex household from being baptized until they were 18, at which point the children would have to recnounce same-sex marriage and move out in order to be baptized. Also announced Thursday: The church will stop labeling same-sex couples as apostates; homosexual behavior had been labeled as apostasy in the church's handbook of instructions for leaders at the same time in 2015.

That 2015 announcement, which came just a few months after the U.S. Supreme Court declared same-sex couples have the right to marry, is believed by numerous Mormon faith to have led to a tremendous surge in teen suicides, and hundreds if not thousands upon thousands reportedly leaving the Church. LGBT church members are expected to be chaste, according to church teachings.

When this policy was announced, shortly after I was elected mayor, I said I hoped if my sons chose to join the Church, they would not be forced to choose between the love of a church community and the love of their parents.

Thursday's announcement does not make same-sex relationships any more acceptable to the Church, but reduces the degree to which they are condemned.

The faith said in a statement that it is not changing its doctrinal opposition to gay marriage and still considers same-sex relationships to be a "serious transgression".

LGBT Mormons

According to the release, church President Dallin H. Oaks said the changes will be effective immediately.

"Instead", the statement reads, "the immoral conduct in heterosexual or homosexual relationships will be treated in the same way ..." The First Presidency is the top leadership of the Mormon church. "We are optimistic that a majority of people - whatever their beliefs and orientations - long for better understanding and less contentious communications".

"There's still work to do but this policy reversal is a very welcome change that moves the church closer to a day where LGBTQ Mormons can see themselves affirmed and included within their faith community".

"While we hope the elimination of this policy will be beneficial for many going forward and lead to a church that is eventually more inclusive, we continue to sit with those individuals who are most affected by the adoption and enforcement of this policy".

Several church leaders weren't sure how to implement the old policy, said Matthew Bowman, a historian of the Mormon Church.

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