A Swiss bishop is being sued for allegedly claiming gay men should be put to death.
Pink Cross, the Swiss Gay Federation, is filing a criminal complaint against Vitus Huonder, the Catholic Bishop of Chur, for reportedly making homophobic comments while quoting passages from the Bible.
In his 50-minute address in Germany on 31 July, he cited the usual passage about how homosexuality is an ‘abomination’.
For those unfamiliar with Leviticus 20:13, it reads: ‘If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.’.
He then said, to applause: ‘Both of these passages alone suffice to clarify unambiguously the church’s position on homosexuality’.
Pink Cross has accused Huonder of ‘inciting people to crimes’ and filed a criminal lawsuit against the bishop today (10 August).
If he is found guilty, he faces up to three years in prison.
Following the speech, it caused a national outcry in both Switzerland and Germany. He released a statement claiming his comments had been ‘misunderstood’ and did not mean to sound ‘contemptuous’ towards gay people.
‘That wasn’t my intention,’ he said.
But Bastian Baumann, the director of Pink Cross, has rejected Huonder’s statement. The gay rights activist has said the call for the ‘reintroduction of the death penalty for gays’ has forced the group to seek criminal prosecution.
He said: ‘As a figure of authority within the church, Vitus Huonder accepts that his demand will meet with approval among Christians and other fundamentalists and could be followed obediently.’