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Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany allows gay pastors to live with partners

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany allows gay pastors to live with partners

The gay pastors of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Northern Germany will be allowed to share church owned residences for clergy with their committed same-sex partners after a near unanimous vote at a church summit on Friday.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany was formed in 2012 and is a union of the North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mecklenburg and the Pomeranian Evangelical Church.

The proposal was voted for 156 to 2.

In order for a same-sex partner to be eligible they must be in a registered partner with their pastor spouse.

However the Northern Church rules respects the views of more conservative congregations by allowing them to opt out of having gay clergy if they disapprove of them.

‘If the provost [supervisor] knows a parish is very conservative, they simply won’t suggest a gay candidate,’ Northern Church spokesman Pastor Mathias Benckert told The Local.

Benckert told The Local that allowing gay pastors to live with their committed partners was a symbol of the commitment that same-sex couples can have for each other.

‘The principles of trust, care, reliability and commitment, all the things that would need to be part of a pastor’s marriage – these things also go for a registered life partnership,’ Benckert said.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany will vote at a summit next year on whether to officially accept the celebration of same-sex unions in its churches – though many member churches already do.