Top German bishop says the church should bless same-sex couples
A leading bishop has called for the Catholic church to be more accepting of gay couples.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, reportedly called for same-sex unions to be blessed.
The comments come after Germany legalised marriage equality in the summer of 2017.
According to the Catholic News Agency, he told the Bavarian State Broadcaster: “It’s about pastoral care for individual cases, and that applies in other areas as well, which we can not regulate, where we have no sets of rules.”
Following question marks over whether Cardinal Marx specifically endorsed the blessings, Catholic News said: “Our headline is intended to reflect that Cardinal Marx directly answered in the affirmative (“yes”) to the question of “bless[ing] homosexual couples in the Church.”
Same-sex weddings have been taking place since autumn 2017.
After years of campaigning, things moved swiftly in Germany’s parliament with a vote being announced, carried out and successfully passed in a matter of days.
Chancellor Angela Merkel gave her Christian Democratic Union party a free vote in the proposal put forward by the Social Democrats – though Mrs Merkel herself voted against the legislation.
393 members of parliament voted in favour of the bill, with 296 voting against and 4 abstentions.
Previously, same-sex couples could not get married but instead only enter into civil unions.
Same-sex couples are now able to have all the rights connected to existing marriage laws. This includes joint adoption.
The German legal code will now read: “Marriage is entered into for life by two people of different or the same sex.”
While she permitted the vote on Monday, Mrs Merkel was one of those who voted against the motion, having in the past admitted to having a “hard time” with the issue.
She revealed shortly before the vote that meeting a lesbian couple who had eight foster children together changed her mind on whether or not a free vote should be allowed on the matter.
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“After years of waiting and hoping, rainbow families in Germany will now receive equal recognition under the law,” said ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis.
“This is a historic milestone that can inspire even more change for LGBTI people.”
She added: “This result has taken years of persistence – and now there is momentum in Germany. Marriage equality is not the final destination.
“LGBTI people and their families need to feel safe and supported in every facet of their lives – outside the civil registry office, as well as inside it.”