Swedish church to allow gay marriages

UPPSALA, Sweden Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:37pm IST

Related Topics

UPPSALA, Sweden (Reuters) - Sweden's Lutheran church decided on Thursday to conduct gay weddings in the Nordic country from next month.

"We are the first major church to do this," said Kristina Grenholm, the church's director of theology. The decision came after the Swedish parliament earlier this year passed legislation allowing homosexuals to legally marry, changing a previous law permitting legal unions but not formal marriage.

"For my part, the right decision was taken, but I can empathise with the many who believe this has gone too fast," Archbishop of Sweden Anders Wejryd told a news conference.

The church said in a statement it would begin wedding same-sex couples on Nov. 1.

Sweden's Lutheran church, which split from the state in 2000 but remains the country's largest religious community, had previously said it was open to registering same-sex unions but wanted to reserve the term matrimony for heterosexual marriages.

The new legislation, which came into force on May 1, eliminated legal distinctions between heterosexual and homosexual spouses, but does not force dissenting clergy to wed gay couples.

A church official said individual priests would still not be required to perform gay marriages. However, local churches would have to ensure that they could wed same-sex couples, if necessary bringing in an outside priest to perform the ceremony.

Some within the church have opposed introducing gay marriage, saying it contravenes scripture. Half of Swedish couples get married in church, though regular church attendance is very low.

(Reporting by Ilze Filks; writing by Niklas Pollard; editing by Mark Trevelyan)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

UKRAINE CRISIS

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Pakistan Turmoil

Pakistan Turmoil

Pakistan parliament backs embattled prime minister as crisis deepens.  Full Article 

Gaza Conflict

Gaza Conflict

End of Gaza war doesn't translate into peace  Full Article 

Photo

Hamas vs Fatah

Hamas popularity surges as Palestinian rivalry flares  Full Article 

Scottish Independence

Scottish Independence

UK's fate in the balance as poll shows record support for Scottish independence  Full Article 

Syria Aid

Syria Aid

Record 4.1 million in Syria got food aid in August, U.N. says  Full Article 

NATO Deployment

NATO Deployment

Afghan turmoil threatens NATO's "mission accomplished" plans  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage