Germany's vote to legalise same-sex marriage has pitted the country's Protestants against each other with opposing views revealed.
The state Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) – a federation of 20 Lutheran, Reformed and other mainline Protestant denominations – blesses gay unions and allows homosexual ministers.
President of the EKD in Hessen and Nassau, Volker Jung, said that with the legislation change means 'a long history of discrimination comes to its end'.
But the German Evangelical Alliance (EAD), which holds a more traditionally evangelical position, has attacked the EKD's stance, reports Evangelical Focus.
Secretary General of the EAD, Hartmut Steeb, described the EKD's welcome of gay marriage as a 'catastrophe'.
He told Idea news agency the idea of family and marriage had been lost in the Protestant state Church.
'We hope the EKD stops cutting the branch of the tree on which it seats,' he said in reference to the Bible.
It comes after the German government legalised same-sex marriage, becoming the 13<sup>th country in Europe to do so.
Despite opposition from the German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been outspoken about her Christian faith, the law was passed by 393 votes to 225.
'For me, matrimony protected by the Constitution means marriage between a man and a woman, and therefore I did not vote for this draft law today,' she said.
Several members of Merkel's conservative CDU party voted with social democrats SPD, Greens and the Left to see the change through.