Families can now document same-sex relationships on FamilySearch

By Liesl Nielsen, | Updated - Dec. 10, 2019 at 12:37 p.m. | Posted - Dec. 10, 2019 at 11:43 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — FamilySearch, one of the most comprehensive collections of genealogical data, now “provides the ability” for families to document same-sex family relationships, according to a Tuesday news release from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

FamilySearch, which is affiliated with the church, allows users to research their genealogy and build “trees” that show familial relationships. In the past, users were not able to document marriage relationships between those of the same sex.

The company "significantly redesigned" systems surrounding the "Family Tree" application in order to make it possible, the news release reads. Those hoping to see the change in the mobile app must update the app.

However, this change on FamilySearch is not a change in doctrine, the church emphasized Tuesday. The church’s doctrine teaches that marriage is a sacred institution ordained by God that should be reserved for one man and one woman.

“FamilySearch seeks to digitally preserve and provide access to genealogical and historical records, and this is part of its efforts to accurately document the human family. The church solemnizes or seals marriages only between people of the opposite sex,” the news release reads.

FamilySearch is "designed to encourage genealogical accuracy" based on original sourcing, and this change now allows users to document all family relationships, including same-sex adoptions.

Children are not "sealed" to same-sex couples, (even if the couple was legally married) and same-sex couples are not "sealed" to each other. Faithful members believe families can be together forever by being "sealed" in the church's temples — during life or after death. Only marriages between those of the opposite sex may be performed in the temples.

However, someone who has died but was part of a same-sex family relationship is available to receive the "religious rites in a temple for which he or she is eligible," the news release reads.

Liesl Nielsen

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