Mormon church expands on stance toward children of gay marriage

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Mormon Church Clarifies Same-Sex Policy Amid Backlash

Mormon church leaders elaborated on Friday about a recent policy on children in same sex marriages that drew fire from rights activists and prompted hundreds of members to say they planned to resign.

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The provisions, approved last week by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, added same-sex marriage to the list of acts considered to be a renunciation of the Utah-based faith and subject to discipline, including excommunication.

It also prohibits natural or adopted children of gay married couples from being baptized asMormons until they turn 18, leave their parents' home and personally disavow same-sex marriage or cohabitation.

See the history of the Mormon church:

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Mormon church expands on stance toward children of gay marriage
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 6: This is the World Headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on November 6, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. On November 5 the Mormon Church changed its policy toward gay and lesbian married couples and their children. The new church policy would excommunicate gay or lesbians that choose to get married and disallow their children to be blessed or baptized into the Mormon Church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith (1805-1844), Mormon Prophet And Founder Of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints. (Photo By Encyclopaedia Britannica/UIG Via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 4: This is a picture of the historic Salt Lake Mormon Temple during the184th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on October 4, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Faithful Mormons from around the world gather in Salt lake for the two day conference. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 2003: Portraits of Joseph Smith (Sharon, 1805 - Carthage, 1844) and his brother Hyrum Smith (Tunbridge, 1800 - Carthage, 1844), American religious leaders and founders of the Mormon religion. Engraving. Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (National Library) (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 4: This is a picture of a statue of the Mormon prophet, Brigham Young with the historic Salt Lake Mormon Temple in the background during the184th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on October 4, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Faithful Mormons from around the world gather in Salt lake for the two day conference. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Brigham Young, American Mormon leader, 1877. The second President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, Brigham Young (1801-1877) led his followers on an 1100 mile trek from Illinois to Utah in 1846-1847 after the church's founder, Joseph Smith, was murdered by a mob. On arriving at their destination, Young and the Mormons founded Salt Lake City. In keeping with the Mormons' practice of polygamy, Young took more than 20 wives and fathered 47 children. He died of cholera morbus in 1877. (Photo by Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 4: This is a picture of the historic Salt Lake Mormon Temple during the184th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on October 4, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Faithful Mormons from around the world gather in Salt lake for the two day conference. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Portrait of Joseph Fielding Smith (1838 - 1918), sixth president of the Mormon Church and nephew of founder Joseph Smith, early 20th Century. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
circa 1840: A lithograph of Joseph Smith (1805-1844), Mormon prophet. Original Artist: By F D Richards. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Illustration of Joseph Smith (1805-1844), founder of Mormon Church, preaching to a group of Indians. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 4: Spires from the historic Salt Lake Mormon Temple rise to the sky during the184th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on October 4, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Faithful Mormons from around the world gather in Salt lake for the two day conference. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 4: Spires from the historic Salt Lake Mormon Temple rise to the sky during the184th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on October 4, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Faithful Mormons from around the world gather in Salt lake for the two day conference. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 4: A group of children pose for a picture in front of the historic Salt Lake Mormon Temple between sessions of the184th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on October 4, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Faithful Mormons from around the world gather in Salt lake for the two day conference. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1930: Postcard and Portrait of Brigham Young. ca. 1916, BORN JUNE 1, 1801, WHITINGHAM, VT. DIED AUG. 29, 1877. SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH. BRIGHAM YOUNG. Brigham Young was born June 1, 1801 in Whitingham, Vt. He succeeded Joseph Smith as President of the Mormon Church when the latter was martyred in Carthage, Ill. in 1844. He led a small band of pioneers into the great unknown West in 1847 and established Salt Lake City where he proved himself to be the greatest colonizer of his time. He died in Salt Lake City, Aug. 29, 1877. (Photo by LCDM Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 4: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and congregation sing during the 184th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on October 4, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Faithful Mormons from around the world are gathered in Salt Lake City for the two day conference. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 4: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings during the 184th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on October 4, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Faithful Mormons from around the world are gathered in Salt Lake City for the two day conference. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 4: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings during the 184th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on October 4, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Faithful Mormons from around the world are gathered in Salt Lake City for the two day conference. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 4: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and congregation sing during the 184th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on October 4, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Faithful Mormons from around the world are gathered in Salt Lake City for the two day conference. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 8: Jason Packham looks at the first, 1832 journal from Mormon Church founder, Joseph Smith on display at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church History Library, part of the 'Foundation of Faith' exhibit on September 8, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of the documents are on pubic display together for the first time. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Mormon Church Salt Lake Temple. Photo from Garden Cafe above. Forty years to build.Not open to public.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 8: The dedication prayer for the Mormon Church's first temple in Kirtland, Ohio, is displayed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church History Library, part of the 'Foundation of Faith' exhibit on September 8, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of the documents are on pubic display together for the first time. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 8: An 1833, first edition of the Mormon scripture, 'Book of Commandments,' which later became the 'Doctrine and Covenants', and were revelations from Mormon Church Founder Joseph Smith, is displayed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church History Library, part of the 'Foundation of Faith' exhibit on September 8, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of the documents are on pubic display together for the first time. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 8: Several rare documents are displayed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church History Library, part of the 'Foundation of Faith' exhibit on September 8, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of the documents are on pubic display together for the first time. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 8: A page from the1842 Book of Abraham, that the Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith claimed was a translation from Egyptian Papyri and a history of Abraham, is displayed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church History Library, part of the 'Foundation of Faith' exhibit on September 8, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of the documents are on pubic display together for the first time. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 8: A signature of Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith on a letter he wrote when he was imprisoned in 'Liberty Jail,' which later became part of the Doctrine and Covenants, Mormon Scripture, is displayed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church History Library, part of the 'Foundation of Faith' exhibit on September 8, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of the documents are on pubic display together for the first time. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 8: An 1830, first edition of the Mormon scripture, 'Book of Mormon' and other rare Mormon scriptures are displayed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church History Library, part of the 'Foundation of Faith' exhibit on September 8, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of the documents are on pubic display together for the first time. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 8: An 1835, first edition of 'A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of Latter Day Saints' is displayed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church History Library, part of the 'Foundation of Faith' exhibit on September 8, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of the documents are on pubic display together for the first time. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO / BEST BLOOMBERG PHOTOS FOR 2011: The spire of the Mormon Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is seen in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the governing body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, told the Senate Finance Committee this week he opposes limiting tax deductions for charitable contributions to churches. 'Private educational institutions, hospitals, social welfare agencies and innumerable other organizations' would be impacted according to Oaks. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The spire of the Mormon Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is seen in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the governing body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, told the Senate Finance Committee this week he opposes limiting tax deductions for charitable contributions to churches. 'Private educational institutions, hospitals, social welfare agencies and innumerable other organizations' would be impacted according to Oaks. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Mormon Salt Lake Temple stands during the first session of the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Mormons from around the world have gathered to listen to church leaders during the two-day conference. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A statue of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, stands by the Mormon Salt Lake Temple during the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Mormons from around the world have gathered to listen to church leaders during the two-day conference. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Director Mack Wilberg conducts the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as they sing at the first session of the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Mormons from around the world have gathered to listen to church leaders during the two-day conference. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees participate in the first session of the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Mormons from around the world have gathered to listen to church leaders during the two-day conference. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees participate in the first session of the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Mormons from around the world have gathered to listen to church leaders during the two-day conference. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Director Mack Wilberg conducts the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as they sing at the first session of the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Mormons from around the world have gathered to listen to church leaders during the two-day conference. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Temple Square, the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a central sight in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Josh Noel/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
People walk past the Mormon Salt Lake Temple during the first session of the 181st Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. Mormons from around the world have gathered to listen to church leaders during the two-day conference. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
SALT LAKE CITY - APRIL 4: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sings during the 179th annual general conference of the church April 4, 2009 in Salt Lake City, Utah. More then a 100,000 mormon faithful will attend the conference over the weekend. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
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In a statement, the church's governing First Presidency said on Friday that they had been obligated to act for the welfare of both adults and children in setting out the new policy.

"The provisions ... that apply only to those children whose primary residence is with a couple living in a same-gender marriage or similar relationship," the three-member board said in a statement.

"When a child living with such a same-gender couple has already been baptized and is actively participating in the Church, ... (the provisions) do not require that his or her membership activities of priesthood privileges be curtailed or that further ordinances be withheld," the statement said.

Decisions concerned such children, it added, should be made by local church leaders "with their prime consideration being the preparation and best interests of the child."

Same-Sex Marriage Legality by State Before the Ruling | FindTheBest

It said all children should be treated with the utmost respect and love, that they are welcome to attend church meetings and take part in church activities, and may receive priesthood blessings of healing and spiritual guidance.

The First Presidency comprises church President Thomas S. Monson and two male counselors.

The Mormon church this year announced support for U.S. laws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in housing and employment. But its leaders have said sex should only happen between a wedded couple, and that they cannot sanction same-sex marriage.

Hundreds of demonstrators plan to gather on Saturday at a park across the street from the faith's headquarters complex in Salt Lake City, before mailing letters stating that they resign from the church, organizers of the protest say.

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis in Denver; Editing by David Gregorio)

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