Swedish church to allow gay marriages
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)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- India to allow Nokia to transfer Chennai factory to Microsoft
- SPECIAL REPORT - In the land of the holy cow, fury over beef exports
- GMR, Megawide group set to win Philippine airport contract
- GMR picks Citi, three others for $300-$350 million airport IPO - sources
- BSE Sensex to touch 24,000 by end-2014: Reuters poll
UNREST IN THAILAND
Anti-government protesters in Thailand pinned their hopes on winning support from the powerful security forces on Thursday as they push to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and install an unelected administration. Full Article
Amount of dirty money leaving developing world jumped 14 pct in 2011 - report. Full Article
U.S., Britain suspend aid to north Syria after Islamists seize weapons store. Full Article