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In Viennese Parish Council Election, Cardinal Overrules Priest to Seat Gay Winner
An Austrian cardinal has overruled a priest's decision to bar a gay man from taking on an elected position in his Vienna parish, according to the Associated Press.
Florian Stangl, 26, was elected March 18 to his parish council having received 96 of 142 votes, but was soon after barred from taking his seat by the Rev. Gerhard Swierzek.
Christopher Schönborn, Austrian cardinal since 1998, originally supported Swierzek's decision, but reconsidered after hosting Stangl and his partner for dinner, Austria's ORF broadcaster reported.
"First, I understand why the community had given him the most votes – because he is really impressive,'' Schönborn told ORF. ''I ask myself in these situations – How did Jesus act? He first saw the human being.''
''I'm glad about the result,'' said Stangl, who lives in a same-sex registered partnership. The cardinal announced his decision to seat Stangl March 30.