(ENI) – The largest Protestant church body in the Netherlands, representing about 2.7 million Christians, has approved the blessing of same-sex partnerships. The decision was taken by the three synods of the Uniting Protestant Churches in the Netherlands in late November near the town of Ede.
Couples who seek a church blessing must show that their relationship is a lasting one based on “love and fidelity.” Their partnership must also be registered with the civil authorities, although this need not be as a marriage. Registered partnerships have been recognised in the Netherlands since January 1998, and civil marriages between same-sex partners since April 2001.
The synods’ action leaves the decision to bless same-sex partnerships to the discretion of local church councils. Not all congregations, therefore, will perform such blessings.