The Catholic diocese of Basel, the Swiss Church’s largest, has come out in support of civil marriage equality and of Church blessings for same-sex couples.

Driving the news

On August 30, the legal affairs committee of the Swiss National Council voted in favour of approving same-sex marriage.

That means a draft law on marriage equality is expected to come before the National Council in its next legislature.

But in the meantime, Basel diocesan spokesman Hansruedi Huber celebrated the proposals to recognise same-sex marriages.

“We welcome the proposed regulations that give homosexual partnerships a stable and reliable legal cover.

“It is important to us that children who grow up in same-sex partnerships receive a legal framework that serves the best interests of the child”, Huber told the Luzerner Zeitung.


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Go deeper

On the subject of Church blessings for same-sex couples, Huber endorsed these as long as they “differ in content and form from the church wedding”.

Markus Burri, a deacon in the diocese and member of the Conference of Pastoral Leaders, also told the Luzerner Zeitung that same-sex blessings could follow guidelines already set out for the Basel Church.

“Basically, I am convinced that there is nothing wrong with blessing people on their own path in life”, Burri said.

That was despite admitting that he did not know ” what the practice looks like with individual pastors”.

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For the record

Huber and Burri are not the only members of the Basel diocese in favour of opening the Church up to LGBT people.

Bishop Felix Gmür, who set up a Rainbow Pastoral Care program in Basel in 2016, has spoken in favour if not of blessing a same-sex marriage then of blessing “two same-sex people on their common path together”.

“It goes without saying that these people belong to the church, of course they are Christians, of course we accompany them in their lives and in their concerns as well as we can”, Gmür said in 2017.

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