The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that members must obey what it calls the law of chastity, which is a code of morality and modesty. Under this code, members are taught to be "morally clean in their thoughts, words, and actions" and to abstain from pornography. Violations of this code include "adultery, being without natural affection, lustfulness, infidelity, incontinence, filthy communications, impurity, inordinate affection, fornication. They included all sexual relations outside marriage-petting, sex perversion, masturbation, and preoccupation with sex in one's thoughts and talking."
Though Celestial marriage is the only form of marriage recognized as a sacrament, the church permits sex within most government-recognized marital unions, the most notable exceptions being common law marriage, same-sex marriage and plural marriage. The church's teachings are ambiguous about the scope of allowable sexual behavior between legally married couples (i.e. the Church leaves it to the couples to decide what is appropriate). The law of chastity has also been interpreted to include various standards of modesty, and varies according to cultural norms of the time. Serious offenses of the law of chastity may result in church discipline, including a possible excommunication, in which a member loses their church membership and privileges, but may still continue to attend meetings.
LGBT members of the church are expected to keep the law of chastity. If they desire to enter into a heterosexual marriage, they should first learn to deal with their homosexual feelings; otherwise, they must remain celibate. Gay or lesbian sex, in any form, whether the participants are married or not, is grounds for excommunication.
The church has supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and polygamous marriage in the United States, and has stated that it "favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship.". The church's position is that government recognition of such rights will "undermine the divinely created institution of the family".
In the 1870s, the church taught that the only valid form of marriage was a Celestial marriage performed by the church, and that "[a] marriage by a magistrate of civil officer was to [Mormons] no marriage at all...and, whether single or plural, must be administered by one having authority from God."
The LDS Church teaches that gender is inherently linked to sex, but the church has no official policy on the status of intersex persons. Transgender persons are accepted in the church and may be baptized, but may not receive the priesthood or enter the temple if they are considering or have undergone elective sex reassignment surgery.
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