In a formidable display of support for the LGBT community, thousands of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints resigned from the church yesterday in protest of a new policy that includes a ban on the baptism of children of same-sex couples. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, responded to the mass resignation by urging the Mormon church to rescind the deplorable attack on loving and committed same-sex couples and their families.
“Thousands of the Mormon faithful standing with the LGBT community sends a powerful message that love will always win,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC’s Senior Vice President of Programs, Research and Training. “Turning children away, asking them to disavow their parents, and devaluing the lives of same-sex couples and their families is shocking to people of faith committed to welcoming all God’s children. We hope that church leaders will reconsider this hurtful and deplorable policy.”
The policy characterises the relationships of Mormons in same-sex couples as “serious transgressions,” calling them apostates of the faith and putting them on par with those who commit murder, rape, sexual abuse, spousal abuse, or intentionally cause serious physical harm to others, as well as those who engage in adultery, fornication, or abandon their family responsibilities. The policy also marks the first time a Christian church has enshrined a baptismal ban on children of same-sex couples.
A recent report released by Pew Research shows growing acceptance of the LGBT community by members of the Mormon church. In the new report, 36 percent of Mormons said they agree with the statement, “homosexuality should be accepted by society,” a 12 percent increase from 2007.
The new policy does not mention gender identity; the LDS Church has no official policy regarding gender identity and expression.