Largest church in Norway backs gay marriage

gay marriage

The largest church in Norway has voted in favour of changes allowing clerics to conduct same sex marriage ceremonies.

The Lutheran Church of Norway – Den Norske Kirke – is the professed religion of nearly 75 per cent of Norwegians and the former state faith. It is now also known as the People’s Church (Folkekirken).

The Norwegian government legalised civil marriage for same sex couples in 2009 but allowed churches and other religious organisations to opt out. Nevertheless some clerics worried that they might be eventually be compelled to participate.

Perhaps as a result, members of the church began to consider their position and at an annual conference in April last year, a majority backed the principle of gay marriage, failing, however, to agree on appropriate wording for church services and marriage ceremonies.

This issue has now been resolved. At a conference in Oslo this week, members approved changes to the wording of the marriage liturgy, with new gender neutral phrasing and the removal of references to the bride and groom.

Campaigner Gard Sandaker-Nilsen welcomed the decision, saying:

“I hope that all Churches in the world can be inspired by this new liturgy.”

Photo of the Arctic Cathedral, Tromsø, Norway by Henrik at English Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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