• U.S.

Mormon Church Now Says Married Same-Sex Couples Are Apostates

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A handbook of the Church of the Latter-day Saints nows states that members of the church in married same-sex couples are apostates and that their children must be excluded from blessings and baptisms until they move from their homes, according to revisions to the handbook that was leaked online.

The revisions to Handbook 1, a guide to lay leaders of the church, were released on social media Thursday, the Salt Lake Tribune reports, and a spokesperson for the church confirmed the stricter position on same-sex couples. Children of same-sex couples may not be blessed or baptized until they have received permission to do so from the religion’s leadership. In order to gain that permission, children must disavow same-sex co-habitation and marriage, reach the age of 18, and have moved out of the household, the Tribune reports.

Eric Hawkins, a spokesperson for the LDS church, told NBC News officials have been working on the revision since court rulings over the past year legalized same-sex marriage. The handbook now lists people “in a same-gender marriage” as apostates, whereas policy before said same-sex marriage may require discipline, the the Washington Post reports.

“Church handbooks are policy and procedural guides for lay leaders who must administer the church in many varied circumstances throughout the world,” LDS spokesperson Eric Hawkins said in a statement to the Post. “The church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages. While it 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.”


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Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com