Swiss Protestant church supports gay marriage
The Federation of Protestant Churches of Switzerland (FEPS) announced that it supports civil marriage between same-sex individuals.
Church leaders already came out in favour of same-sex marriage in August, but officially endorsed it this week during their national assembly held in Bern.
"The diversity of sexual orientations reflects the fullness of the divine act of creation. God wants us the way we were created. We cannot choose our sexual orientation," the Church Council said.
The Federation stressed that its support does not mean the church intends to actually introduce religious marriage for same-sex couples, as this decision belongs to local parishes.
It did, however, propose to include a provision in the church's regulations giving its pastors the freedom of choice on whether to marry same-sex couples in a religious ceremony.
Peter Schneeberger, president of the Association VFG Free Churches Switzerland, criticized FEPS's decision.
"Marriage between men and women, because of their potential, has a special status in our view and is based on God's order of creation," he told Livenet.ch, a web portal for Switzerland's Christian community.
Switzerland allows civil unions between same-sex couples, but not full marriages.
However, a proposal called "Marriage For All", introduced by the Liberal Green party, is currently in the parliament. Deputiesare expected to discuss it during the spring 2020 session.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in most Western European nations. Italy, where these unions are still prohibited, started to recognize them in 2016.