Gay and lesbian Mormons and their supporters are reeling over a rule change by church officials that says members in same-sex marriages can be kicked out and their children are to be barred from being baptized unless they disavow homosexual relationships. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints disseminated the handbook changes this week to local church leaders around the world. The revisions triggered a wave of anger, confusion and sadness for a growing faction of LGBT-supportive Mormons who had been buoyed in recent years by church leaders' calls for more compassion and understanding for LGBT members. "It feels like they are extending an olive branch and hitting you with it," said Wendy Montgomery, who is Mormon and has a 17-year-old gay son.
Nathan Kitchen, a gay Mormon with five children, said the news left him devastated and angry about the quandary his children now face. "I am stunned right now at how I'm being labeled and how my children are being marked," Kitchen said. "It's almost like they now have to choose between a gay father and a church that they love." A church spokesperson noted the church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages. It's simply reiterating its doctrine, he said. Just 25% of Latter-day Saints support gay marriage. The changes come as other religious groups that oppose gay marriage struggle with how to approach the issue of same-sex spouses' children. (Read more Mormon stories.)