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article imageMore than 1,000 Mormons quit in Utah same-sex policy protest

By Megan Hamilton     Nov 16, 2015 in World
Salt Lake City - At least 1,500 Latter-day Saints have resigned in protest of a new policy that prevents children of married same-sex couples from being baptized until they become adults, organizers of the movement said Sunday.
A crowd of over 1,000 people gathered Saturday near the the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Salt Lake City to protest the policy that they say is discriminatory and harmful, The New York Post reports. Many stood in long lines to submit their resignations, the organizers said.
Another protest, "The Utah Rally for Love, Equality, Family and Acceptance" is set for next Saturday in the same area.
LDS church leaders approved the policy, which added same-sex marriage to acts it considers a renunciation of the Mormon faith, and therefore subject to church discipline, including excommunication.
"It is difficult for people to leave the Church," said Brooke Swallow, one of the protest organizers. "It takes people a long time to make this decision. It is a well-thought-out one and it is not taken lightly."
During the protest, people showed up at the park across the street from church headquarters. Streams of Mormons handed in their letters of resignation to attorney Mark Naugle, who checked to see that the forms were complete and promised to mail the letters the next day, The Guardian reports.
Other folks marched in a procession to a downtown mailbox and twice circled Temple Square, which is where the faith's flagship temple is located.
"I resigned today," said Paul Pratt, who was also protesting. "I haven't been active for 17 years. It's time to separate. I don't need a bunch of [church leaders] telling me what to do."
The church has more than 15 million faithful and 85,000 missionaries worldwide, The Guardian noted.
It seems that church leaders are trying to smooth things over, saying that the rulings only applied to kids who live primarily with a same-sex couple, The Telegraph reports. Children who are already baptized won't lose their membership, they said.
The Church has said it will support laws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination regarding housing and employment, The New York Post reports. However, Mormon leaders maintain sex should only happen between a married couple, and also says it can't sanction same-sex marriage.
Attorney Mark Naugle is helping people resign from the church, and noted that church members brought their letters of resignation to his office Saturday, CNN reports. The turnout was huge, he said.
"I was slammed for three hours," he said. "Some people stood in line for an hour and a half."
What upset people the most was that this affected children.
"Most people are disaffected from the church already, and this was the final straw."
He plans to deliver the resignation letters symbolically to the LDS headquarters in Salt Lake City on Monday.
More about Mormons, utah church, samesex policy protest, Samesex marriage, Latterdaysaints
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