SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormon Church, has declared same-sex couples are apostates and children living with them cannot be part of church activities, including baptisms.
The new polices are part of revisions to the Church Handbook 1, a guide for leaders of local Mormon congregations -- called stakes. The revisions were implemented Thursday and were previously approved by the church's Council of the First Presidency and its Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for the church, told NBC News the revisions had been in development long before their implementation and had nothing to do with the election of Jackie Biskupski as Salt Lake City's first openly gay mayor this week.
"The church has long been on record as opposing same-sex marriages," Hawkins said. "While it respects the law of the land and acknowledges the right of others to think and act differently, it does not perform or accept same-sex marriage within its membership."
According to the new Church Handbook 1, those who are "in a same-gender marriage" are now declared apostates: a person who willingly or is deemed to have renounced a religious belief or principle.
Children living with same-sex parents cannot receive the church's blessing, train to become missionaries or receive baptism. The Mormon church usually baptizes children at the age of 8.
A child would need to leave the home or turn 18 years of age to be allowed entry to the church, unless the child "specifically disavows the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage," according to the revisions.
In August, the Mormon church, the nation's largest sponsor of the Boy Scouts of America, announced it will continue its longtime affiliation with the organization despite its decision to allow openly gay leaders in the ranks.