Mormons grant gay man's request to leave church

SAN FRANCISCO - A 28-year-old, gay, lapsed Mormon who hoped to be removed from church membership rolls has had his request granted.

''It's a done deal. There will be no hearings or proceedings or discipline of any sort,'' Mormon Church spokesman Jay Pimentel told the San Francisco Examiner for a story Wednesday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had originally scheduled a disciplinary hearing for Owen Edwards for Sunday.

The Utah native, who moved to San Francisco three years ago, has not attended church since he was a teen-ager. But he didn't take steps to officially quit until he was angered by the church's campaign for Proposition 22, the initiative outlawing gay marriage that California voters passed in March.

In February, Edwards sent a letter to his local bishop asking that his name be taken off the rolls.

More than four months later, on July 8, he received a letter from Mormon Bishop Bryan Earl of San Francisco. Edwards was told that his request had triggered a July 23 disciplinary hearing, with excommunication a possible result.

Edwards was one of many Mormons who have run into problems trying to leave the church. Three gay members in Utah were excommunicated after they sought to quit, and lost contact with friends and family as a result.

''I just feel like this is very hurtful to me - that I can't just walk away,'' Edwards told the San Francisco Examiner. ''I have to fight tooth and nail.''


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