Swiss bishops support legal gay partnerships

Switzerland's Catholic bishops said Thursday that while they would still refuse to bless gay weddings in church, they accept that legal partnership registration for same-sex couples has merits, according to Agence France-Presse. The Swiss regions of Geneva and Zurich have introduced laws allowing same-sex partnerships, paving the way for a nationwide vote on the subject in the future.

The conference of Swiss bishops said in a statement that it is not opposed to the registration of same-sex partnerships--as long as such ceremonies are not conducted to resemble marriage services--because formalizing the couple would "do away with discrimination over inheritance and in other areas." The conference added, however, that "the unique nature of a marriage between a man and a woman must have unconditional protection. Society cannot tamper with it without endangering itself."

The bishops also said being gay should not exclude a man from becoming a priest as long as he abstains from sex. "A predisposition toward homosexuality does not preclude anyone from becoming a minister of the Church," the statement said, and "can even give them a particular charisma. "

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