The German Evangelical Church in Rhineland has agreed in a landslide vote to allow same-sex weddings in their church. Speakers in the debate stated that there is “no legal or theological reason for a different treatment of married couples and those living in a civil partnership”
This is in stark contrast to this week’s Primates meeting of the Anglican communions, which culminated in a three year suspension of the American Episcopal Church for its approval of gay marriage and appointment of gay bishops. While the Anglican communion is divided, the German Evangelicals are not: of 211 synod attendees, only seven voted against.
Also notable, is that the Rhineland region, admittedly a more liberal region of Germany, is not the first to take this step. Earlier, the Evangelical Church of Hesse-Nassau was the first to adopt a similar change in church constitution.
Giles Fraser, in his response to the Primates meeting, noted that in the long run, this week’s decision is irrelevant, because marriage equality is the way of the future. He is right.
From Gay Star News:
A group of Evangelicals controlling 719 parishes in west Germany have said they will start marrying gay and lesbian couples.
The Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, Germany’s second-biggest territorial church, voted on the decision during their synod today (15 January).
It is also the second territorial church area out of 20 to open marriage ceremonies to all couples; the Evangelical Church of Hesse-Nassau was first to adopt a similar change in church constitution.
Only seven out of 211 voting attendees voted against treating same-sex marriages the same as their straight counterparts and allowing all couples to sign the church register.
Until now, gay couples could only receive a consecration or blessing, which does not count as a religious ceremony. The new change in church constitution abolishes this separation.
‘I’m very happy about this decision, because it is inspired by what should be at the heart of marriage,’ North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Emancipation, Barbara Steffens (Green Party), told queer.de.
‘Loving devotion, which all humans can experience, no matter their sexual orientation.’
During a debate, members said there was ‘no legal or theological reason for a different treatment of married couples and those living in a civil partnership’ according to German public broadcaster SWR.