Germany’s health minister has criticised the Roman Catholic Church for refusing to bless same-sex unions.
Jens Spahn, who married his husband Daniel Funke in 2017, has described his relationship with the church as difficult at times, according to the DPA news agency.
But Spahn did say his religious faith remains strong, in an interview with Germany’s Bunte magazine.
"My belief is deeply anchored inside of me," he said, adding that as a gay man he was aware of "the many mistakes the church has made in its long history".
"There are priests who bless guinea pigs and motorcycles," Spahn said.
"But two people who love each other and are believers wishing for a blessing for their promise to be there for each other all life long are being rejected by the church."
"This bothers and annoys me ... but it does not lead to me turning away from my belief or the church."
In March, the Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, released a document that said Catholic clergy cannot bless same-sex unions because God "cannot bless sin".
Two months later, the powerful progressive wing of Germany’s Catholic Church openly defied the Holy See pronouncement by offering such blessings at services in around 100 churches across the country.