US: Church considering recognition of same-sex marriages and ordination of gay priests

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The national conference of the Community of Christ Church has recommended that it change its policy to recognise same-sex marriages

The conference, attended by 1,500 delegates, made its recommendation on Sunday, that the church, based out of Independence, Missouri, should recognise same-sex marriages in US states where they are legal.

It went on to recommend that the church should also offer commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples who live in states where it is not yet legal for them to marry, and to allow priesthood regardless of sexual orientation.

The proposed changes would need to be approved by church leaders, before they would take effect. They would also only be applicable in the US, not to other countries in which the church has a presence, around the globe.

The church, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has 250,000 members worldwide, across 50 countries, is part of the Latter Day Saint movement.

The recommendations followed the church’s World Conference, which took place last week. The church has been looking at same-sex issues such as wedding or commitment ceremonies, and ordination for several years.

Policy recommendations require a 67% approval rate by the conference, before making it to the church’s top leaders for consideration.

In December, leaders of the Mormon Church, known as the Church of the Latter Day Saints, launched a new website which, despite saying the church is still opposed to same-sex marriage, encouraged churchgoers to be more compassionate in discussions over homosexuality.

Back in July in Salt Lake City, the home of the Mormon Church, around 150 members quit in a mass resignation ceremony over the church’s opposition to gay marriage and polygamy.