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Mormon may be disciplined for gay marriage

AP, via The Salt Lake Tribune, USA
Mar. 16, 2006
Jennifer Dobner
sltrib.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Friday March 17, 2006

A gay man who is a lifetime member of the Mormon church could be facing disciplinary action and excommunication after legally marrying his partner in Canada.

Buckley Jeppson, 57, said he’s been informed verbally by a senior church leader that his life is incompatible with the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that a disciplinary council will address the matter.

Jeppson, of Washington, D.C., married Mike Kessler in Toronto on Aug. 27, 2004.

It is believed that if Jeppson is excommunicated, it would be the first time a Mormon in a legal, same-sex marriage was punished by the church, said Olin Thomas, executive director of Affirmation, an advocacy and education group for gay Mormons.

Jeppson said that over the past five months Nolan Archibald, the senior leader – or president – of a group of Mormon congregations in the Washington area, has encouraged Jeppson to resign his church membership, which would avoid disciplinary action. Jeppson is unwilling to do that.

”It’s not going to be my choice to deny my heritage and my faith,” Jeppson said in a telephone interview from his home.

Contacted by The Associated Press, Archibald declined specific comment, saying he has a sacred duty to keep matters involving church members confidential. ”I would like to say, it’s a total misrepresentation of the conversation we had,” Archibald said.

The Mormon church only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman, Salt Lake City-based church spokeswoman Kim Farah said. Where other forms of marriage are legal, only those in heterosexual marriages could be members of the church, she said.

Baptized church members promise to live the principles of the Gospel, Farah said.

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