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Protestant churches

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Protestant churches

Liberal position

Certain other Christian denominations do not view monogamous same-sex relationships as sinful or immoral, and may bless such unions and consider them marriages. These include the United Church of Canada, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, all German Lutheran, reformed and united churches in EKD, all Swiss reformed churches, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, the United Protestant Church in Belgium, the United Protestant Church of France, the Church of Denmark, the Church of Sweden, the Church of Iceland, the Church of Norway, and the Uniting Church in Australia. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland also allows prayer for same-sex couples. The Metropolitan Community Church was founded specifically to serve the Christian LGBT community. The Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals (GAAAP), traces its roots back to 1980, making it the oldest LGBT-affirming Apostolic Pentecostal denomination in existence. Another such organization is the Affirming Pentecostal Church International, currently the largest affirming Pentecostal organization, with churches in the US, UK, Central and South America, Europe and Africa.

LGBT-affirming denominations regard homosexuality as a natural occurrence. The United Church of Christ celebrates gay marriage, and some parts of the Anglican and Lutheran churches allow for the blessing of gay unions. The United Church of Canada also allows same-sex marriage, and views sexual orientation as a gift from God. Within the Anglican Communion, there are openly gay clergy; for example, Gene Robinson is an openly gay Bishop in the US Episcopal Church. Within the Lutheran communion, there are openly gay clergy, too; for example, bishop Eva Brunne is an openly lesbian Bishop in the Church of Sweden. Such religious groups and denominations interpret scripture and doctrine in a way that leads them to accept that homosexuality is morally acceptable, and a natural occurrence. For example, in 1988 the United Church of Canada, that country's largest Protestant denomination, affirmed that "a) All persons, regardless of their sexual orientation, who profess Jesus Christ and obedience to Him, are welcome to be or become full members of the Church; and b) All members of the Church are eligible to be considered for the Ordered Ministry." In 2000, the Church's General Assembly further affirmed that "human sexual orientations, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are a gift from God and part of the marvelous diversity of creation."

In addition, some Christian denominations such as the Moravian Church, believe that the Bible speaks negatively of homosexual acts but, as research on the matter continues, the Moravian Church seeks to establish a policy on homosexuality and the ordination of homosexuals. In 2014, Moravian Church in Europe allowed blessings of same-sex unions.

Liberal Quakers, those in membership of Britain Yearly Meeting and Friends General Conference in the US approve of same-sex marriage and union. Quakers were the first Christian group in the United Kingdom to advocate for equal marriage and Quakers in Britain formally recognised same-sex relationships in 1963.

The United Methodist Church elected a lesbian bishop in 2016, and on May 7, 2018, the Council of Bishops proposed the One Church Plan, which would allow individual pastors and regional church bodies to decide whether to ordain LGBT clergy and perform same-sex weddings. On February 26, 2019, a special session of the General Conference rejected the One Church Plan and voted to strengthen its official opposition to same-sex marriages and ordaining openly LGBT clergy.

Various positions

Churches within Lutheranism hold stances on the issue ranging from labeling homosexual acts as sinful, to acceptance of homosexual relationships. For example, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the Lutheran Church of Australia, and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod recognize homosexual behavior as intrinsically sinful and seek to minister to those who are struggling with homosexual inclinations. However, the Church of Sweden, the Church of Denmark, the Church of Norway or lutheran churches of Evangelical Church in Germany conducts same-sex marriages, while the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada opens the ministry of the church to gay pastors and other professional workers living in committed relationships. The Ethiopian Mekane Yesus Lutheran Church, however, has taken a stand that marriage is inherently between a man and a woman, and has formally broken fellowship with the ELCA, a doctrinal stand that has cost the Ethiopian church ELCA financial support.

Conservative position

Some mainline Protestant denominations, such as the African Methodist churches, the Reformed Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church in America have a conservative position on the subject.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church "recognizes that every human being is valuable in the sight of God, and seeks to minister to all men and women [including homosexuals] in the spirit of Jesus," while maintaining that homosexual sex itself is forbidden in the Bible. "Jesus affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin. He offered caring ministry and words of solace to struggling people, while differentiating His love for sinners from His clear teaching about sinful practices."

The Anglican Church reassures people with same sex attraction they are loved by God and are welcomed as full members of the Body of Christ. The Church leadership has a variety of views in regard to homosexual expression and ordination. Some expressions of sexuality are considered sinful including "promiscuity, prostitution, incest, pornography, paedophilia, predatory sexual behaviour, and sadomasochism (all of which may be heterosexual and homosexual). The Church is concerned with pressures on young people to engage sexually and encourages abstinence. Most of the Anglican Communion does not approve of homosexual activity, with the exception of the Episcopal Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, which is facing a possible exclusion from international Anglican bodies over the issue.

Conservative Quakers, those within Friends United Meeting and the Evangelical Friends International believe that sexual relations are condoned only in marriage, which they define to be between a man and a woman.

Confessional Lutheran churches teach that it is sinful to have homosexual desires, even if they do not lead to homosexual activity. The Doctrinal statement issued by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod states that making a distinction between homosexual orientation and the act of homosexuality is confusing:

"We cannot limit the sin of homosexuality to deeds but not desires, any more than we can limit heterosexual sin to deeds but not desires. Scripture clearly includes desires and inclinations toward sinful actions in the category of sin (Mt 5:27-28). This is true of both homosexual and heterosexual sin."

However, confessional Lutherans also warn against selective morality which harshly condemns homosexuality while treating other sins more lightly.

 

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