Our Positional Statements

The European Forum is a group that actively works towards more equality and inclusion through (church) politics. We explicate our concrete takes on pertinent subjects and urgent issues in our positional statements.

Gender Equality

Historically and to the present day, European society and churches have been strongly based in a binary construction of gender, supporting a (sense of) hierarchy in which “males” are considered superior. This has caused structural oppression, discrimination, and violence victimising all people that do not identify with the traditional male gender. A growing number of churches have opened their offices to different genders, but still men continue to be dominant in many leadership positions, whereas other genders mostly form the vast majority that practically uphold local churches and church affiliated organisations.

The European Forum of LGBTI+ Christian Groups believes the Eternal has created all people equally, both in Their image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). Baptised in Christ, there is “neither male nor female”. All people are equal as followers of Christ (Galatians 3:26–28). It is therefore that the European Forum is committed to working to achieve gender equality, women’s rights, and sexual and reproductive rights. Combatting the patriarchal systems of oppression and harmful gender norms and stereotypes and upholding the principle of self-determination and bodily integrity and autonomy are at the heart of the convictions of the European Forum. The European Forum supports and recommends the ratification of the Istanbul Convention in all European countries and appeals to churches to end gender inequality in all offices and in all professional and voluntary positions and to advocate the deconstruction of patriarchal systems of oppression, to combat harmful gender norms and stereotypes, and to acknowledge the principle of self-determination, bodily integrity, and autonomy for all.

Conversion Practices

Conversion practices are all practices that seek to suppress, change or divert the (a)sexual orientation and/or gender identity of a person. These practices are often religious in nature—through the form of prayer, reading of Scripture, and sometimes even physical contact. They also can be medical, psychiatric, psychological, and cultural. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that so-called “conversion practices” are without the presupposed effect. The harm they nevertheless inflict on those subjected to them is long-lasting, such as spiritual harm, depression, anxiety, attempts to suicide, self-hatred etc. Sometimes, even suicide is the tragic result. Conversion practices are still legal in most countries. Only a few implemented a full legal ban and protection for those vulnerable to these practices.

The European Forum of LGBTI+ Christian Groups believes the Eternal has created all people in Their image and likeness (Genesis 1:26), regardless of their (a)sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. There is therefore no reason to change, heal, adjust, control, or convert anyone’s (a)sexual orientation or gender identity to align with heterosexual and cisgender norms by so-called “conversion practices” or “reparative therapy”. These are violent and dangerous.

The European Forum appeals to churches and other faith communities urgently to refrain from all practices that try to change an individual’s (a)sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression as specified above and to denounce all these practices. The European Forum appeals to churches, other faith communities, and governments to protect people of all ages against any form of malpractice, to therefore forbid all “conversion practices” and to support LGBTI+ people to embrace their (a)sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as God given.

Marriage Equality and Same-Sex Blessing

In a growing number of European countries, civil union has been opened to also include same-sex partners. A few churches so far have decided positively on blessing partners in a same-sex union. In some European countries, civil unions can be also concluded by church officials (on church premises); at the same time blessing of same-sex unions is still impossible there.

Some European countries have defined civil union constitutionally as a union before the law of one man and one woman or are politically paving the way to do so, making it impossible to open civil union also for partners of the same sex. In these countries, (mainstream) churches often actively engage in banning the possibility of opening civil unions for partners of the same sex, claiming the exclusive sanctity of heterosexual union in marriage on a Biblical basis and appealing to the supposed danger for the “traditional family”, curtailing the right to freedom of religion and the right to a specific cultural identity.

(For an overview of countries’ and chruches’ status, see the Rainbow Europe Map and Index and the Rainbow Index of Churches in Europe, respectively.)

The European Forum of LGBTI+ Christian Groups considers that the right to freedom of religion and the right to cultural identity cannot and should not dictate the legal definition of family and family unions, including civil union. We believe that civil union should include all families based on love, mutuality, care, and respect, without discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It should include equality for all people, governed by law.

In the opinion of the European Forum, it is not possible to distinguish any Biblical basis in favour of the exclusive position of heterosexual union in marriage, as historically this union is a modern invention not known in Biblical times. The nuclear family as such, which has been promoted by churches and cultures as the ideal in modern times, does not exist in the Bible nor is it advocated as an exclusive expression of being Christian.
The European Forum calls on governments to open civil union for all families, to legally protect them, and to make the social recognition of all families their priority. The European Forum calls on all churches to underline the sanctity of all families based on love, mutuality, care, and respect and to realise the possibility of blessing families and partners in civil union.