News (USA)

Mormon policy targeting gay couples and their kids draws ‘mass resignation’

“If you are hurting today, you are not alone. If you are angry today, you are not alone,” said Lauren Elise McNamara, one of the event organizers. “We are here for you and your families. Today we expand from members of a church that excludes to members of a world community that embraces. A world that is choosing love.”

The crowd included gay and lesbian couples as well as straight couples. Many came with children. They held signs such as, “Standing on the side of love,” and “These policies harm all of us.”

Connie Walker of Orem held a sign that read, “I’m resigning today because Jesus says love everyone.” She is a straight mother of three kids who hadn’t been attending church for about eight years.

Coco Barth and Nichole Jensen, a lesbian couple who were both raised in the faith, said they have been thinking about formally renouncing their membership and were compelled by the policy changes to finally do it.

Barth, 19, said she came out as lesbian last summer and stopped attending church nearly two years ago. But she said the rule changes still stung her.

“My family is still all really Mormon,” said Barth, of Cottonwood Heights, Utah. “It’s going to affect my life a lot. Maybe my kids will want to go to church with grandma and grandpa? They will be treated differently.”

Across the street from the park where the rally took place stood one counter-protester who defended the church: Brandon Robertson. Dressed in a suit, the 20-year-old gay Mormon from Orem, Utah, held a sign with Bible verses and a picture of Jesus Christ and said people should stand behind what church leaders say.

About the new policies, he said, “It’s coming out of place of love for these children. It’s giving them a grace period to make a decision on their own.”

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