The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints just strengthened its anti-gay marriage policies: the children of same-sex couples will be barred from inclusion in the church until they are 18, leave their homes and renounce same-sex partnerships. This new policy was enshrined in the LDS handbook and includes living with a parent who has ever lived in a same-sex household, regardless of the parent’s current cohabitation/marital status. Same-sex couples who are married are now officially considered apostates. Non-married same-sex couples are not apostates but their relationships are “serious transgressions.” Other serious transgressions include: “attempted murder, forcible rape, sexual abuse, spouse abuse, intentional serious physical injury of others, [and] adultery.”

This comes in time for Salt Lake City to elect its first openly gay mayor: Jackie Biskupski. A spokesman for the church, Erik Hawkins, told NBC News that the policy changes are unrelated to her election, insisting “the church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages” and these are the policies that have been in revision for quite some time.

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The LDS church has indeed been quite steady in their opposition to same-sex relationships. Although they did endorse an anti-discrimination bill that banned employment and housing discrimination towards gay people, they also doubled-down on the tired “religious liberty” excuse for discriminating against gays in every other aspect of life. The Mormon Church was one of the biggest backers of the 2008 Proposition 8 bill to ban gay marriage in California.

Raise your hand if you’re surprised. Equating gay sex and gay relationships with rape and murder are nothing new and treating gay people like Satan’s offspring is nothing new. Their exclusion of the children of said Satanic offspring is new but not surprising. The Twittersphere was not having it. Here are some choice reactions:

 

 

 

And this one, which nicely sums up our reactions to the LDS Church’s decision:

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Images via Twitter and Mormon.org

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Taia is a fabulous human who is working and writing in New York City. She writes about politics, reproductive rights, and pop culture. When not writing she likes to sleep, read Carl Sagan, and do as many squats as her legs can handle. Follow her on Twitter @taiahandlin and Facebook as Taia Handlin.

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