Lutherans Fail to reach consensus on same-sex marriges

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) -- A meeting representing Lutheran churches around the world failed to reach consensus on same-sex marriages. A 17-page statement ended up acknowledging "the diversity within the communion on matters of human sexuality."

The Lutheran World Federation delegates, from churches with 60 million members in 76 countries, advocated study of "issues of marriage, family and human sexuality in a manner appropriate to the needs of each member church."

A motion to specifically include same-sex marriages in such study was narrowly defeated. Also voted down was a conservative motion to define the family as the union of a man and a woman.

"We do have differences," Sweden's Bishop Christian Krause, outgoing president of the world federation, told the assembly. "Yet we stay together and we are going to talk about them."

Some delegates at the Winnipeg assembly urged church leaders to be more accepting of homosexuals.

"(These are) people who are already part of our community," said Archbishop Karl Gustav Hammer of Sweden. "They serve in our churches and they also try to live in relationships — untraditional relationships, but with the same ethical Christian standards as the rest of us."

But other delegates opposed any change to the traditional definition of marriage.

"I believe the Scripture is clear in terms of the paradigms for family and I believe it is clear in its paradigm for sexuality," said Bishop Julius Filo of Slovakia.

The assembly elected as Krause's successor Chicago-based Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.