Members of the Church of Latter Day Saints are planning a “mass resignation” in Salt Lake City on Saturday in response to a leaked church policy that punishes the children of same-sex couples who don’t renounce their parents’ relationship.
The event, which is expected to draw close to 1,000 people, seems unprecedented in the church’s 185-year history, according to several experts.
Utah Mormons have organized the effort in response to the church’s recently leaked policy on same-sex couples, which makes them candidates for excommunication and prohibits their children from being baptised or blessed, except if they renounce same-sex relationships and are older than 18.
By Friday morning, a Facebook page for the event had 1,200 people saying they would attend the event at City Creek Park in downtown Salt Lake City. Supporters from Georgia, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Ohio and other states weighed in.
The church published the policy on 3 November and it was leaked to the media two days later. The policy says that being “in a same-gender marriage” is considered apostasy, or having renounced the church, and therefore, grounds for excommunication. It also says that “a natural or adopted child of a parent living in a same-gender relationship, whether the couple is married or cohabiting, may be baptized and confirmed, ordained, or recommended for missionary service” only when that child has turned 18, renounced same-sex unions and gained permission from the church’s top leadership.