Homosexuality and Lutheranism

Lutheran viewpoints concerning homosexuality are diverse because there is no one worldwide body which represents all Lutherans. The Lutheran World Federation, a worldwide 'communion of churches' and the largest global body of Lutherans, contains member churches on both sides of the issue. Thus far, the communion of the LWF has not been impaired by the variety of approaches.

Synods allowing homosexual relationships

In North America

In 1970, Strommen, et al. surveyed 4,745 Lutheran adults between the ages of 15 and 65. They were members of the American Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church in America, and Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. 1% stated that they frequently had homosexual intercourse during the past year and 3% stated that they did so occasionally. 90% said that they never had homosexual intercourse during the past year, and 7% did not respond. [1]

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

In 2001, a Social Statement on Sexuality was requested by the Churchwide Assembly and entrusted to a Task Force. In light of the ongoing work of that task force, the 2007 Churchwide Assembly passed a resolution asking bishops to exercise restraint in discipline of those congregations and pastors in violation of 'Vision and Expectations.'

Until August 2009, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran church body in the U.S., expected "ordained ministers who are homosexual in their self-understanding" to "abstain from homosexual sexual relationships".

The 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis passed "Human Sexuality, Gift and Trust",[2] which approved more positive assessments of same-gender partnerships in the church. On 21 August 2009, the same body passed four ministry policy resolutions that opened the way for congregations to recognize and support such partnerships and for those in committed same-gender partnerships to be rostered leaders within the ELCA.[3] [4]

In 2013, openly gay Lutheran Guy Erwin, who has lived in a gay partnership for 19 years, was installed in California as Bishop of the ELCA's Southwest California Synod.[5]

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

In July 2011 Churchwide Assembly of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada passed a new sexuality statement, permitting clergy in committed same-gender partnerships and allowing the blessing of same-sex unions.[6]

In Europe

In many European Lutheran church, open LGBT people can work as Lutheran pastors. The Lutheran Church in Great Britain has stepped back from a more accepting position of LGBT Christians for fear of losing its African and Asian congregations.

EKD in Germany

In the year 2000, the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) passed the resolution Verantwortung und Verlässlichkeit stärken, in which same-gender partnerships are supported.[7] In November 2010, EKD passed a new right for LGBT ordination of homosexual ministers, who live in civil unions.[8] Most churches within the EKD allowed blessing of same-sex unions.[9]


The Church of Sweden has permitted the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of partnered gays and lesbians since 2006. Starting in November 2009, the church officiates same-sex marriage, since the Riksdag allowed same-sex marriage starting 1 May said year—however, individual priests can choose not to perform marriages for couples of the same gender. The Church of Denmark also provides for such blessings, as does the Church of Norway, which also ordains gays and lesbians.[10] The largest Lutheran church in Europe that doesn't—despite ongoing controversy—permit blessing of same-sex unions is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The Church of Finland does, however, allow priests to pray for same-sex couples, as of October 2010. Additionally, Archbishop Kari Mäkinen expressed his support for the new law permitting same-gender marriages.[11]

South America

Argentina and Uruguay

The Evangelical Church of the River Plate, which includes Lutherans and Waldensians, and the United Lutheran Church have supported civil unions and same-sex marriages.[12]

Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil

In 2011, the church released a pastoral letter accepting the Supreme Court's decision to allow same-sex marriage in Brazil, and supported the families of same-sex couples.[13]

Denominations against homosexual activity

In North America

At least five denominations view "homosexual behavior" to be sinful and believe that it is contrary to Scripture:

In Europe

See also


  1. See Merton P. Strommen et al., A Study of Generations (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing, 1972), p. 372.
  2. ELCA:Legislative summary 4 & 5
  3. ELCA:Legislative summary 8 & 9
  4. StarTribune:ELCA validates 'chaste' same-sex relationships
  5. Press release (6/1/2013). "The Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin Elected Bishop". Southwest California Synod, ELCA. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada votes to bless same-sex marriage and is cheered on by the anglican Church of Canada
  7. EKD:Verantwortung und Verlässlichkeit stärken
  8. EKD:EKD-Synode beschließt neues Pfarrdienstgesetz (german)
  9. Evangelisch.de: Segnung homosexueller Paare. Bunt wie ein Regenbogen
  10. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-5626.html
  11. Duffy, Nick. "Finland: Church head welcomes same-sex marriage vote". www.pinknews.co.uk. Pink News. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  12. "Evangélicos, política y sexualidad". aacademica.org. Universidad de Buenos Aires. 2009. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  13. "IECLB publica carta pastoral sobre homossexualidade". www.ihu.unisinos.br (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  14. For an example of a classic Missourian doctrinal text mentioning homosexuality, see Graebner, Augustus Lawrence (1910). Outlines Of Doctrinal Theology. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House. pp. 79ff. "The Law condemns every one who carnally knows himself, or a brute, or another person of the same sex, or a person of the other sex with whom he is not or, because of a prohibited degree of consanguinity or affinity, or because of an existing marriage of either party with a third person, cannot be joined in lawful wedlock, or who, without a sufficient cause, refuses to live with or to love and honor his lawful spouse, or who annuls a valid betrothal, or who, by any manner of lewdness or indecency in deed word, or desire, defiles his body or soul."
  15. WELS Statement on homosexuality http://www.wels.net/what-we-believe/questions-answers/social-issues
  16. Press Release: ELS Disagrees with ELCA on Homosexuality http://www.evangelicallutheransynod.org/President/news/announcements/elca-homosexuality-pr-20080821
  17. Stanovisko Slezské církve evangelické a.v. k lidem s homosexuální orientací (2003); Stanovisko Slezské církve evangelické a.v. k otázce homosexuality (2006)
  18. http://elfk.de.dd21408.kasserver.com/html/main/2013/01/unsere-stellung-zum-thema-homosexualitat/
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