About 1,500 Mormons resign from church in protest of same-sex policy

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New LDS Policy On Same-Sex Couples Leads To Mass Resignation

(Reuters) -- About 1,500 Latter-day Saints have submitted letters of resignation from the Mormon Church to protest a new policy barring children of married same-sex couples from being baptized until they are adults, movement organizers said on Sunday.

More than 1,000 people gathered on Saturday near the Salt Lake City headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to protest the policy they see as discriminatory and harmful to families, with many standing in long lines to submit their resignations, they said.

See more of the protests in the gallery below:

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Mormon church same-sex policy protests
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About 1,500 Mormons resign from church in protest of same-sex policy
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters walk past the historic Mormon temple after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters walk past the historic Mormon temple after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protestors hold pride flags and signs in front of the Historic Mormon Temple on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Piles of letters from people who resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children are seen in a mailbox on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Standing in front of a pride flag with the historic Mormon Temple in the background people have their picture taken after they resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: A pride flag flies in front of the Historic Mormon Temple as part of a protest where people resigned from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: People hold protest signs in City Creek Park after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
People march during a gathering for a mass resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Salt Lake City. A day after the Mormon church stood behind its new rules targeting gay members and their children, while issuing clarifications, hundreds held a rally in Salt Lake City to protest their displeasure with the policy changes. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
People walk past the Salt Lake Temple after mailing resignation letters during a mass resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Salt Lake City. A day after the Mormon church stood behind its new rules targeting gay members and their children, while issuing clarifications, hundreds held a rally in Salt Lake City to protest their displeasure with the policy changes. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Sandy Newcomb poses for a photograph with a rainbow flag as Mormons gather for a mass resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Salt Lake City. A day after the Mormon church stood behind its new rules targeting gay members and their children, while issuing clarifications, hundreds held a rally in Salt Lake City to protest their displeasure with the policy changes. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
People march during a gathering for a mass resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Salt Lake City. A day after the Mormon church stood behind its new rules targeting gay members and their children, while issuing clarifications, hundreds held a rally in Salt Lake City to protest their displeasure with the policy changes. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Sarah Epperson holds her resignation letter before mailing it, as Mormons gather for a mass resignation from the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Salt Lake City. A day after the Mormon church stood behind its new rules targeting gay members and their children, while issuing clarifications, hundreds of people held rally in Salt Lake City to protest their displeasure with the policy changes. The attendees joined together in renouncing their membership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Mark Lindsay, left, and Tom Kerns kiss after mailing a resignation letter as Mormons gather for a mass resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Salt Lake City. A day after the Mormon church stood behind its new rules targeting gay members and their children, while issuing clarifications, hundreds of gathered in Salt Lake City to protest their displeasure with the policy changes. The attendees joined together in renouncing their membership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
People gather during a rally for a mass resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Salt Lake City. A day after the Mormon church stood behind its new rules targeting gay members and their children, while issuing clarifications, hundreds held rally in Salt Lake City to protest their displeasure with the policy changes with many renouncing their membership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
A woman celebrates before mailing her resignation letter while Mormons gather for a mass resignation from the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Salt Lake City. A day after the Mormon church stood behind its new rules targeting gay members and their children, while issuing clarifications, hundreds of people gathered in Salt Lake City to protest their displeasure with the policy changes. The attendees joined together in renouncing their membership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters gather in City Creek Park and fill out papers to resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: With the World Headquarters of the Mormon church in the background, Krystal Rogers Nielson holds her letter of resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: People march from City Creek Park after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: People wait in line to submit their letter to resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: With the historic Mormon Salt Lake Temple in the background, Chris Wade, (R) and Sam Wade (L) laugh as they wait in line to submit their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: People march from City Creek Park down State Street in downtown Salt Lake after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: The Putnam family fills out papers to submit their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: A woman holds a protest sign in City Creek Park after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protestors hold pride flags and signs in front of the Historic Mormon Temple on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: A woman waits in line with her letter of resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters gather in City Creek Park where many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: A man holds a protest sign in City Creek Park after many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Jennifer Frodsham, (L) submits paperwork to attorney Mark Naugle, (R) to resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters gather in City Creek Park where many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Ted Thompson submits his resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters gather in City Creek Park where many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: The Mormon Churches historic Salt Lake temple and the world headquarters of the church is seen from City Creek Park, where a mass resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children took place on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protestors hold pride flags and signs in front of the Historic Mormon Temple on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: People line up to submit their letter to attorney Mark Naugle, to resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Patricia Peterson hold her letter of resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER14: Protesters gather in City Creek Park where many submitted their resignations from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in response to a recent change in church policy towards married LGBT same sex couples and their children on November 14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A little over a week ago the Mormon church made a change in their official handbook of instructions requiring a disciplinary council and possible excommunication for same sex couples and banning the blessing and baptism of their children into the church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
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A similar protest called "The Utah Rally for Love, Equality, Family and Acceptance" is set for next Saturday in the same area.

It added same-sex marriage to acts considered to be a renunciation of the Mormon faith and thus subject to church discipline, including excommunication.

"It is difficult for people to leave the Church. It takes people a long time to make this decision. It is a well-thought-out one and it is not taken lightly," said Brooke Swallow, one of the organizers of the Saturday protest.

"The people in the Mormon Church are finding that this is not a Christ-centered policy," Swallow added.

Church officials were not immediately available for comment.

The Church has more than 15 million adherents and 85,000 missionaries around the world.

The new church policy follows a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that legalized same-sex marriage. The policy bars children of gay married couples from being baptized in the faith until they turn 18, leave their parents' home and disavow same-sex marriage or cohabitation.

Church leaders elaborated on the policy on Friday, saying the withholding of baptism would apply only to children whose primary residence was with a same-sex couple.

The provisions do not curtail the membership activities of children who have already been baptized, the leaders said.

The Church said this year it would support laws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in housing and employment. But Mormon leaders have said sex should only happen between a married couple, and that they cannot sanction same-sex marriage.

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