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:

PALESTINE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty Above 8,600

Nifty hits record high above 8,600; state-run lenders gain  Full Article 

Indian in Iraq

Indian in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Essar Group

Essar Group

Exclusive - Essar's planned oil-for-steel deal tests Iran sanctions  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Fiscal Deficit

Fiscal Deficit

April-October fiscal deficit nears 90 pct of full-year target  Full Article 

Oil Prices

Oil Prices

Oil hits new four-year low post OPEC as glut looms  Full Article 

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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