In a stunning announcement Thursday evening, the Mormon Church has decreed that children of same-sex couples may not be baptized or blessed.
“A natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may not receive a name and a blessing,” the addition to the Mormon Handbook reads in a new section titled, “Children of a Parent Living in a Same-Gender Relationship.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also announced that children may not be baptized until they have reached “legal age” and do not “live with a parent who has lived or currently lives in a same-gender cohabitation relationship or marriage.”
Before being allowed to be baptized or to go on missionary service, that adult child must first receive permission from the Office of the First Presidency. That adult child must also accept and be “committed to live the teachings and doctrine of the Church,” and disavow “the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage.”
For members of the Mormon Church who enter into a same-sex relationship or marriage, there are equally harsh new rules.
“Under the new church policy, people in ‘same-gender’ marriage have been added to the list of those acts of circumstances that are considered apostasy and would be subject to disciplinary action,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports. “Historically, the church has excommunicated some members who have acted on their same-sex attractions.”
This is the first time the sentence of apostasy has been imposed on Mormons who are in same-sex relationships.
In a statement the Mormon Church noted these new rules are effective immediately and “have been approved by the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,” the highest leadership of the LDS Church.