Sweden’s Lutherian church has decided to conduct gay weddings, the first major church to do so.
Ceremonies will begin on November the first. The decision follows legislation passed in the Swedish parliament earlier this year allowing homosexuals to marry, changing a previous law allowing legal unions but ruling out formal marriage.
“We had a long debate yesterday and it was not at all negative but rather quite positive. I was very pleased when the debate finished, because everyone expressed their opinion, and these were discussed. Views were animated, but there were no personal accusations at all, and everyone respected each other,” said church council chair Gunnar Sibbmark.
“And it’s very important that we really have respect for those to whom this is a problem for their conscience. But I would also say that very many of the opponents are extremely conscious about our way forward, together,” said Archbishop Anders Wejryd.
The new legislation came into force on May the first, and does not force dissenting clergy to wed gay couples, a policy the church is following.