New Church policy removes same-sex attraction from “list of sins”
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, today recognized that the Mormon Church removed same-sex attraction as a sin in church policy. The new policy, released by church leaders last Saturday, for the first time does not call for professional counseling for those who experience same-sex attraction. The American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association have both concluded that same-sex attraction is normal and that “reparative” therapy – like the kind formerly advocated by the Mormon Church – is unhealthy and harmful.
While still claiming that “homosexual behavior violates the commandments of God,” the new policy differentiates between same-sex behavior, to which they continue to object, and attraction, which the church is able to rationalize. A summary of the policy changes can be found here.
“The new guidelines clearly show that advocacy efforts pay off with real change,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “We spoke out against the harms of so-called ‘reparative therapies’ on LGBT young people. Church leaders heard us and responded by dropping their recommendation that such discredited interventions be forced on LGBT and questioning youth.”
“We continue to disagree with the Mormon Church about fundamentally important issues like full respect for the marriages of same-sex couples, but we are encouraged that our advocacy has paid off with real movement that will help save young lives,” said Rev. Harry Knox, director of HRC’s Religion and Faith Program.
Last month Boyd K. Packer, the president of the Mormon Church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles, called same-sex attraction “impure and unnatural,” and claimed that it can be corrected. Packer characterized same-sex marriage as immoral. Packer’s inaccurate and dangerous rhetoric came on the heels of the suicides of a number of teenagers who were victims of anti-gay bullying or harassment. Packer, who is 86 and one of the church’s most senior leaders, made his statements to a crowd of 20,000 – with millions more watching via satellite transmission – during the church’s 180th Semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City.
HRC immediately called on Packer to correct his dangerous statements. Over 150,000 members and supporters signed an open letter to Packer and HRC President Joe Solmonese delivered the signatures to Church headquarters along with representatives from Equality Utah, the Utah Pride Center, Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, and the Utah Psychological Association.