Last weekend, a Berlin protestant church became the first of its kind to carry out a full marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple, paving the way for other gay couples to have their partnership recognized in the church.
Marienkirche in Berlin gladly stepped up to offer the marriage ceremony of Sven Kretschmer and Tim Schmidt, who have been together for 14 years. The couple have had their relationship legally recognized as a civil partnership up until this point by the German government, the most they can receive in that arena, but the country allows churches to have separate recognitions.
“We no longer have to consider artificial differences between marriages and blessings”
Pastor Eric Haussmann, one of the two pastors that officiated the wedding, was relieved to finally have traditional and same-sex marriages treated equally. In the past, same-sex couples were only granted blessings.
“We no longer have to consider artificial differences between marriages and blessings and can now officially marry people who want to commit themselves to one another,” he told the Berliner Zeitung. “When two individuals declare that they want to commit themselves to one another and promise to do so, we bless that promise.”
While this church happily married the couple, not all German Protestant churches are onboard yet. Bavaria and Saxony Anhalt are two of the holdouts that will still only offer blessings, but 20 provinces across Germany have agreed to take the extra steps to offer marriages.