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The Council of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches advocates opening up marriage to same-sex couples

At its meeting on 29 August 2019, the Council of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) decided to endorse the opening up of civil marriages to same-sex couples. The Council also decided to recommend to the member churches of the FSPC that they adopt an extended civil law concept of marriage as a prerequisite for church weddings.

According to the Council’s proposal to the member churches, freedom of conscience for pastors regarding church weddings for same-sex couples should be preserved in the regulations of the member churches. It recommends recording the weddings of same-sex couples in marriage registers and according them the same liturgical celebration as that used in the weddings of heterosexual couples.

The Assembly of Delegates expressed its position in June 2019, noting that 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. We see it as an expression of created abundance.”

On this basis, the Council has decided to endorse the opening up of marriage to same-sex couples and recommend marriage ceremonies for everyone. As for questions regarding adoption and reproductive medicine, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches will express its position at a later date.

At the heart of the church is the confession of Jesus Christ. The Council is of the view that the question of the understanding of marriage does not have a confessional character. The Christian confession is the sturdy foundation that allows for different positions and conceptions of marriage within the Reformed Church.

Based on these considerations, the Council submitted a proposal on marriage for all to the Assembly of Delegates for their meeting in early November 2019. The proposal contains recommendations to the cantonal churches on church weddings for same-sex couples. Decisions on church weddings will fall within the competence of the cantonal churches. As the legislative authority, the Assembly of Delegates will decide on recommendations on 4 November 2019.

Unity in diversity is part of the Reformed self-concept. “There are different theological currents within the Reformed Church. These different voices are important in the struggle for truth,” said Gottfried Locher, President of the Council of the FSPC. It is important for the Council to continue on its way as a church, even after the democratic decision of the Assembly of Delegates.