The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon or LDS Church, has rolled back a 2015 policy that treated same-sex marriage as an act of apostasy, and that barred children of same-sex couples from being baptized into the faith until they turned 18, at which point they would have to specifically disavow same-sex marriage and no longer be living with their parents. The announcement of this reversal was made in advance of the LDS Church’s General Conference, a semiannual gathering at which top leaders in the faith deliver instruction to the members.
The policy change is not a complete rollback of the LDS Church’s policies on LGBT issues. (In announcing the shift, Apostle Dallin H. Oaks made clear that the LDS Church still considers same-sex marriage to be “a serious transgression.”) But for LGBT Mormons, the rollback offers some relief from these additional policies that were perceived as particularly cruel and divisive. While not apologizing for the 2015 changes, Oaks wrote that the change “should help affected families”—and that leaders “want to reduce the hate and contention so common today.” What has not changed is Mormon doctrine on LGBT issues, as the Church made clear near the end of its press release. Under existing LDS Church policy, gay, lesbian, and bisexual members must refrain from same-sex sexual activity in order to remain in good standing, while transgender members who receive surgical treatment for gender dysphoria can be subject to discipline.