Danish parliament compels state church to offer gay marriages: The Church of England Newspaper, June 24, 2012. June 25, 2012Posted by geoconger in Church of Denmark, Church of England Newspaper, Marriage.
Tags: gay marriage
The Danish National Church – Den Danske Folkekirke, the state Lutheran church – has been directed by its country’s parliament to begin performing gay church weddings effective 15 June 2012.
Earlier this year the liberal-left coalition government of Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt proposed legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry in the state church. While gay marriage is legal in Denmark, the state church’s bishops had ruled that the marriage liturgy could not be used for same-sex marriages.
Last week’s vote of 85 to 26 in the Kolketing, the Danish Parliament, directs the bishops to compose a second equal liturgy that would allow same-sex couples to be married by the church.
The new law permits individual priests to refuse to solemnize a gay marriage, but the local bishop must find another priest to perform the service in the recusant’s parish.
The debate within the Kolketing and in the Danish press has divided along calls for justice against Christian teaching and ethics. After the vote, Denmark’s church minister, Manu Sareen, said the decision had been “historic”.
“I think it’s very important to give all members of the church the possibility to get married. Today, it’s only heterosexual couples,” he said.
The leder in the left wing daily Politiken applauded the 7 June 2012. “This resolution is not only a victory for homosexuals, but also for Denmark’s progressive, multifaceted image, which has been keeping a low profile in recent years. At the same time the resolution marks a defeat for the alliance of narrow-minded conservatives and religious sourpusses that held sway under the conservative government.”
However, a church affairs spokesman for the blue alliance, the conservative opposition to the ruling red alliance, denounced the government’s decision to override the bishops on gay marriage.
“Marriage is as old as man himself, and you can’t change something as fundamental,” the party’s church spokesperson Christian Langballe said during the debate. “Marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman.”
Only three of the country’s ten Lutheran bishops have endorsed the new law and the Bishop of Viborg has warned that by compelling gay marriage, the government risked “splitting the church”.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.