A year and a half ago, FamilySearch.org projected it would include same-sex parents and same-sex couples in its genealogy website sometime in 2019 — and it has, with three weeks to spare.
The site, which is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced Tuesday that FamilySearch Family Tree now provides the ability for users to document same-sex family relationships.
The move does not, however, signal any change in the church’s steadfast doctrinal stance against same-sex marriage.
The addition of gay relationships is part of FamilySearch’s “efforts to accurately document the human family,” according to a news release, but the Utah-based church still “solemnizes or seals marriages [it its temples] only between people of the opposite sex.”
Children of same-sex couples will not be sealed to their parents “even if the couples have been legally married,” according to the release. “A deceased individual who has lived in a same-sex couple relationship or who has been a party to a same-sex marriage may receive all other available religious rites in a temple for which he or she is eligible.”
Same-sex marriage was legalized throughout the United States in June 2015; it is now legal in dozens of countries.
What has changed on FamilySearch is that when adding a spouse or a parent to Family Tree, users will be able to enter one of the same sex. And “several” of the site’s systems had to be “significantly redesigned” to allow same-sex relationships to be documented, according to the release.
The pending change was first announced in June 2018.
The church also reemphasized its policies for uploading family pictures. Photos should be modest, relevant, “heart-turning” and noncommercial. FamilySearch policies prohibit images of “individuals kissing one another on the lips or about to kiss one another on the lips, regardless of gender, age, or relationship.”