The State Department has stopped paying for mail sent out by the International Women's Year Commission because of a controversial news release distributed by the panel, a spokesman said yesterday.

The department said it also has told the commission to change its return mailing address.

Department spokesman Tom Reston said the actions were in response to a news release sent out by the commission on the letterhead of the State Department's Office of Public Information.

The news release was criticized by some persons, including Rep. Gunn McKay (D-Utah), as equating the Mormon Church with the Ku Klux Klan. It quoted newspaper and magazine articles idenifying groups or religions as allegedly being among those "engaged in attacks to subvert" the goals of the commission. The organizations listed included the Mormon-Church and the Klan.

"The department does not agree with the characterization of the Mormon Church," Reston said. he explained that yesterday's action was in response to a promised review of the State Department's relationship with the women's group.

Reston said the department had paid for the commission's mailings in the past but won't do so in the future.

He said the State Department's actions also will "reflect the commission's independent status and sole responsibility for the substantive views expressed by its members."

McKay asked the State Department to apologize for the "attack on the Mormon Church."