Following a harsh new policy banning children of same-sex couples from joining the church, hundreds of Mormons have taken to the streets in protest.
The Mormon Church faced hundreds of protesters in Salt Lake City this Saturday following their new policy that singles out gay church members and their children. According to a report from Fox News, the event is just the latest in a series of protests against the church for their new exclusionary policies.
The new policy is detailed in a volume called Handbook 1. John Dehlin, a famous Mormon podcaster who was banned from the church earlier this year, posted some of the most controversial sections online. His public dismissal of the church’s exclusionary policies resulted in him being banned from the church, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints claimed that he was driving members away.
Mormon church spokesman Eric Hawkins said that the document is a “policy and procedural guide” that did nothing more than reaffirm the church’s long-standing position on same-sex marriage. “While it respects the law of the land, and acknowledges the rights of others to think and act differently, it does not perform or accept same-sex marriage within its membership,” Hawkins said.
Dehlin posted about the policy changes on his Facebook page, warning that legally married LGBT Mormons could face persecution under the church’s disciplinary rules. Dehlin said that the church risked bringing greater obscurity upon itself in a world that increasingly accepts same-sex marriage.
The rule changes stand to affect a large number of people in the LGBT and Mormon communities, including Scott Faussett, who is the father of three children. “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,” Fausset said.
The new policy will prevent the children of gay parents, whether “natural or adopted,” from being baptized in the Mormon Church. If children of same-sex couples wish to join the church as a member on their own, they will have to wait until they are 18 years old and have moved out of their parents’ house. Only then, and after they renounce the practice of same-sex living, would they be baptized, confirmed, and ordained in the church.
The new policy has been sparking protest from Mormons and members of the LGBT community across the country, and the Mormon’s First Presidency issued a statement responding to the criticism of the new policies, which can be found here.