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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:29 am 
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Washington Post

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new policy in its handbook stating that children living in a same-sex household may not be blessed as babies or baptized until they are 18.

The policy change, which also states that those in a same-sex marriage are to be considered apostates, was confirmed Thursday by church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

“Church handbooks are policy and procedural guides for lay leaders who must administer the church in many varied circumstances throughout the world,” Hawkins said in a statement. “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.”

The LDS Church, popularly known as the Mormon Church, teaches that marriage is an institution created by God for one man and one woman. Before Thursday’s change, the church’s policy was that same-sex marriage may require discipline. Now that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the country, the church decided to identify those in a same-sex marriage as apostates, or people who renounce their faith.

Mormon children are normally blessed as infants and entered into the LDS Church records. Most Mormon children are baptized around age 8, an act that Mormons believe is a covenant with God and essential to salvation.

The new policy says that once natural or adopted children living in a same-sex household reach 18, they may disavow the practice of same-sex cohabitation or marriage and stop living within the household. If the individual follows those two rules, they may request approval to be baptized, confirmed, ordained to the church priesthood and recommended for missionary service with the permission of the faith’s highest leaders, the First Presidency.

The LDS Church has been politically active on issues related to same-sex marriage and religious liberty. The church and its allies worked on a political compromise with gay rights advocates in Utah earlier this year.

The LDS Church has been politically active on issues related to same-sex marriage and religious liberty. The church and its allies worked on a political compromise with gay rights advocates in Utah earlier this year.

The church, which has expressed fears that gay rights could trump religious rights, received national backlash after it fought gay marriage in California in 2008. Last month, Dallin Oaks, a member of the LDS Church’s Twelve Apostles, said Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis erred in her decision to decline to sign same-sex marriage licenses, and he urged more balance, tolerance and civility in protecting religious freedom.

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