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French Protestant church approves move to bless gay couples

Patrick Hertzog, AFP

France’s main Protestant church on Sunday approved a measure giving its pastors the possibility of blessing the marriage of same-sex couples, two years after France’s government legalised gay marriage.

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The United Protestant Church of France, which counts around 250,000 members across the country, adopted the reform during a national synod held in the Mediterranean city of Sète meant to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Ninety-four representatives of the protestant group voted in favour of the measure, with only three voting against it, a church spokesman told the press on Sunday.

“The synod has decided to go a step forward in supporting those couples by opening the possibility of holding liturgical celebrations when they are requested,” the Church leader Laurent Schlumberger said.

“It’s an option, not an obligation,” Schlumberger noted. “Every pastor and every parish is free to implement this change.”

“The decision was adopted overwhelmingly and calmly, and has allowed us to move forward together, even if different positions within our Church remain on this subject,” he added.

France’s Socialist-led government legalised marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in May 2013, but the reform sparked massive protests which were led, in part, by some of the country’s most prominent Catholic institutions.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

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