What New Mormon Guidelines Mean for Same Sex Families
Same sex marriage may be legal in every state, but that doesn’t mean religious communities are ready to embrace everyone with open arms. Today, the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, released a new set of guidelines targeting same sex couples.
The policy changes, as reported by the Washington Post, will discount same-sex couples as apostates, subjecting devout gay Mormons to disciplinary hearings and likely excommunication. The change will also affect the children of same-sex couples, who will be unable to join the church until they are 18. Only after moving out from under their parent’s roofs and renouncing same-sex partnerships can they appeal to the Church – which must then grant its approval before they can fully participate in the Mormon community.
Parents will be forced to choose between their faith and their relationship, and forgo either a lifetime companionship or the acceptance of the church. Children will be pinned in a similar dilemma, with the additional difficulty of self-sustenance and independent housing at the age of 18. Beyond grappling with the difficulties posed to these families, the bitter pill of discrimination is even tougher to swallow – families having children out of wedlock and convicted felons are more readily accepted than gay men and women.
The egregious policy stance is already stirring the pot among more liberal church members. Some of the outrage may also stem from a place of confusion. Although the Church has consistently gone on record opposing same-sex marriage, as a whole it’s been relatively quiet and hesitant to push for harsher guidelines.
This past month a Mormon leader in Kentucky spoke up regarding Kim Davis’s refusal to grant same sex marriage licenses. He called her decision an error and an overstep, urging for tolerance, balance, and civility towards differing opinions. This isn’t a radical deviation from the Mormon Church, which has remained respectful of secular laws of the land.
In Salt Lake City, Jackie Biskupski, an openly gay woman was just elected as Mayor on Tuesday. In the city that houses the LDS headquarters, the election was a big deal to say the least. The Mormon community even has an organization dedicated to MOM’s, or mixed orientation marriages, which supports females married to gay men in Utah. The organization reported that roughly 2 million of these types of unions exist across the nation, in which men are accepted in the church despite their orientation. In the face of what appears to be a budding tolerance, the new policy changes caught many of guard.
The intersecting patch of gray between the gay community and the religious community will undoubtedly be affected by the guideline amendment. Beyond the reigns it will place on faith and personal choices, the change publically stigmatizes same-sex couples and outs them as church dissidents. For same-sex couples, the new stipulations may call for a unsettling decision between sacred and secular.
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