The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on Thursday that it was reversing its controversial 2015 policy that classified people in same-sex marriages as “apostates.” The Mormon church had also barred the children of such marriages from blessing or baptism until age 18.
The change was attributed to President Dallin Oaks, and the church said it was intended to “help affected families” and “to reduce the hate and contention so common today.”
Children of parents who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender may now be blessed as infants and baptized.
The 2015 policy had divided the church, and many members felt it punished children. The children of such marriages could only be baptized once they turned 18, and to do so they needed to move out of the household and disavow same-sex cohabitation and marriage. In protest, at least 1,000 Mormons showed up in Salt Lake City to formally resign their membership.
The move may be seen as loosening a highly restrictive approach to its LGBT members, but the church reiterated that it considers same-sex marriage by a member to be “a serious transgression.”