Swiss bishops support legal gay partnerships

By Editors

Originally published on October 04 2002 12:00 AM ET

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. "