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The Church of Latter-day Saints lost 1,500 members following a mass-resignation in Salt Lake City this weekend. The exodus came in response to the church's new policy for LGBT members, which bans baptisms for children of gay couples until the child turns 18, among other homophobic new rules. Hundreds lined up outside the LDS headquarters on Saturday to submit their letters of resignation.
In order to formally leave the Church, LDS requires a letter outlining a member's reasons for leaving and results in their name being permanently removed from its records. It can be a lengthy, emotional process that can affect a member's personal and professional life, as well as their reputation within the Mormon community.
The New York Times reports that, in addition to denying baptisms to children of gay couples and renouncing all same-sex relationships, the new policy declares Mormons in same-sex marriages apostates and subject to disciplinary hearings that can result in excommunication.
"The fact that it affects children really upset people," Mark Naugle, an attorney handling the resignation letters, told CNN.
The resignations come the same week Salt Lake City is expected to elect its first openly gay mayor (they're still tallying the votes). The mayoral candidate, Jackie Biskupski, is not Mormon, but hopes the ban will be short-lived.
"As a mother of a young son—who will grow up in this community—I want him to feel welcome wherever he goes and judged based on the content of his character, not on his mother's sexual orientation," Biskupski told the Salt Lake Tribune.