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Norwegian Church Opens Marriage to Gays and Lesbians
(Blogmensgo, gay blog vom 12. April 2016) On April 11, 2016, the episcopal synod of the Protestant Church of Norway convened in Trondheim and officially allowed same-sex marriage. The vote was supported by a majority of 88 of 115 votes and welcomed with cheerful ovations.
The synod of January 2017 will officially release a joint liturgy (gay, lesbian and heterosexual). From that point on, pastors may celebrate religious weddings.
[Update of January 31, 2017. Now it is official. More information at the end of this article.]
The vote of April 11 confirms the direction of the episcopal synod of the protestant church of Norway taken in October 2015, which reversed the former position against same-sex marriage. The question of same-sex religious marriage has been discussed in Norway since 1992.
Protestantism has the rank of an official religion in Norway, which is the third Scandinavian country beside Sweden and Denmark to allow religious weddings between same-sex couples.
The people in all of these three countries are mostly Protestants. Obviously, the Catholic Church in these countries has expressed strong opposition against same-sex religious weddings even though Protestant pastors are not forced to celebrate such wedding ceremonies against their own convictions.
Norway’s Protestant Church has allowed homosexuals in priesthood. Furthermore, same-sex couples may have civil marriages and adopt children.
[Update of January 31, 2017. As expected, the episcopal synod of the Lutheran Church of Norway accepted the new joint liturgy with 83 to 29 votes on January 30, 2017. This will allow pastors to celebrate gay, lesbian and straight religious weddings. (Initial source: lexpress.fr of January 30, 2017.)
From now on, straight and gay wedding ceremonies are unified, and terms like bride and groom have been brought to a gender-neutral language form.
Each paster can freely decide whether to celebrate same-sex weddings or not. If not, the wedding ceremony will be carried out by another pastor.
Another new fact is that from now on, Protestantism has lost its status as an official religion. The government will still partly subsidize the Lutheran Church of Norway, which is still the biggest church in Norway (as of 2015, about 73% of the population are members). However, the number of believers and churchgoers have been declining.]