In addition, Mormons in same-sex marriages will be considered apostates and ordered to undergo church disciplinary hearings that could lead to excommunication, a more rigid approach than the church has taken in the past.
The new policies are an effort by the church, which has long opposed same-sex marriage, to reinforce and even harden its doctrinal boundaries for its members at a time when small but increasing numbers of Mormons are coming out as gay or supportive of same-sex marriage.
At the same time, the church has recently been taking a tolerant public stance supportive of laws that ban discrimination against gay people in employment and housing. Since the Supreme Court established a right to same-sex marriage nationwide in June, Mormon leaders have parted company with the leaders of evangelical and other conservative churches by affirming that despite their religious convictions, even people of faith opposed to gay marriage must follow the law.
“The church is walking a fine line between on the one hand recognizing the reality of changing mores in American society externally, but internally holding the line on its own doctrinal rigor — its own beliefs and teachings,” said David Campbell , a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame and a co-author of “Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics.”