The Evangelical Church in Germany, which counts 719 churches in the country's western Rhineland territory, have voted in favour of performing same sex marriages.
The church, which is the second largest Protestant congregation in Germany, made the decision at its synod on Friday, with a two-thirds majority.
Germany’s official Protestant Church is divided into regional churches by federal state, with no unified position on same sex marriage. In other states, the church blesses same sex unions, but does not officially perform marriages.
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Emancipation, Barbara Steffens (Green Party), told queer.de
, "I’m very happy about this decision, because it is inspired by what should be at the heart of marriage: loving devotion, which all humans can experience, no matter their sexual orientation."
Germany remains one of the only countries in western Europe not to offer same sex marriage as a legal right. It is not supported by current Chancellor Angela Merkel, although polls taken last summer
showed as many as 65% of Germans agreed with legalising the measure.
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