BYU and Church officials clarify changes to Honor Code on ‘Homosexual Behavior’

Religion

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 News)- Last month BYU announced changes to the Honor Code after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a new online handbook. Those changes included removing a section of the Honor Code called “Homosexual Behavior.”

Before the change, the Honor Code stated the following:

Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or attraction and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards. Members of the university community can remain in good Honor Code standing if they conduct their lives in a manner consistent with gospel principles and the Honor Code.

One’s stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity. Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.

BYU Honor Code prior to Feb. 19, 2020

After the Church released the new book, that section of the Honor Code was removed.

Immediately there were questions on what the change meant.

“There is nothing more dishonorable than expecting people to follow unwritten rules that they don’t know about until some HCO employee in a “case by case” scenario decides that what they happened to do is worthy of punishment,” Twitter user Victoria Rice stated.

“So basically remove the language to save face, but keep punishing people if you feel like it?” another user asked.

Then, on Wednesday, two weeks after the change, the Church and university sent a clarification letter from Elder Paul V. Johnson, Commissioner of the Church Educational System.

“One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on ‘Homosexual Behavior.’ The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code,” the letter states.

“Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles included in the Honor Code,” Johnson wrote.

Church spokesperson Daniel Woodruff said the “the letter represents the position of the Church.”

Students gathered on campus outside the Wilkinson Student Center in protest Wednesday afternoon. Many marched with signs and chanted “Love, Not Hate–That’s what makes BYU great!” and “We are here. We are queer!” The protest went on for a few hours.


UPDATE: Protests continued on Thursday outside of the Wilkinson Student Center.

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