In the conservative German state of Bavaria, gay and lesbian Lutheran ministers are allowed to live with their partners in parish parsonages, as long as they enter into a state-sanctioned civil union.
Bishop Johannes Friedrich of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria said it was not strange considering similar existing policies.
"We had only left out that a couple could live in a civil union in the parsonage," added the Bishop.
The ministers must receive a church blessing for their union and agree to be in a union recognized by government officials. Six Bavarian ministers already live in same-sex civil unions!
"Over the course of time, society has become ever more liberal and open on this question, indeed much more liberal than church circles. In the meantime, I expect homosexual ministers to make their first focus on harmony in their community and church, putting it before considerations of their lifestyle."
The Working Group of Avowed Christians in Bavaria have already expressed opposition and plans to seek a formal review of the new rules.
It's a first step!
[Image via AP Images.]