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Kamaile Harris found an empty patch of table for her aluminum baking pan of "Pumpkin Crunch" a down-homey confection if there ever was one "and sooooo easy," Harris confessed.
Her four children darted around the Impact Center in downtown Salt Lake City while LGBT families and their supporters took in sweets, jazz and children's activities at "Family Homo Evening." The Pride Center and Equality Utah hosted the event, riffing on the Mormon Monday night tradition of Family Home Evening, in response to new policy by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, deeming any Mormon in a same-sex union an apostate and forbidding such couples' children from church membership.
"We grew up Mormon. We fully understand what the word 'apostasy' means," said Candice Berrett, who got photos taken with her wife, Megan, and their two children, Quinn and Tucker. "It's a harsh word. Having our family labeled as that, even down to the kids our neighbors are going to treat us differently."
The policy, which was leaked last week and later confirmed by church leadership, forbids baby blessings and baptisms for any children whose parents have ever cohabited in a "same-gender" relationship. Those children may only be baptized as adults with an appeal from local leaders and approval from the church's governing First Presidency. The children would have to denounce their parents' lifestyle to procure a chance for such approval.
"We just wanted to support other families like ours," said Addison Hemmert, a transgender woman who waited in line for balloon sculptures with her wife, Sarah, their three children and a family friend.
Sarah Hemmert, who has been married to Addison for 16 years, said they have extended family who remain active in the LDS Church.
"It's hard when we know our family is viewed in such a way by their institution," she said.
Weston Clark, a stay-at-home dad, "bore his testimony" Mormon terminology for a faith statement to the crowd of about 300 people alongside his husband, Brandon Mark. He said he was most concerned for his two young children, Zoe and Xander.
"Policies like this ... send a signal to their Mormon peers that they have an innate quality, that they are better than my kids," he said. "... One of my greatest fears is that my children will be rejected."
Harris said that is why she brought her children particularly her 12-year-old daughter, who identifies as bisexual.
"I want to give her this community," Harris said.