Church Says Yes to Gay Weddings
One of the most delicate issues of the protestant Swedish church in modern times has been resolved on Thursday: A majority of members of the national church organization board voted for performing clerical marriage rites for same-sex partners. The church board's decision followed the line of the Swedish parliament. The Riksdag had voted for allowing same-sex marriages in May.
Bishop Martin Lind from Linköping is one of the liberals in the church leadership. He told Swedish Radio that the discussion preceding Thursday's decision had begun much earlier and had led to the blessing of homosexual partnerships years ago:
"When we said yes to life-long homosexual love we said yes to the decisive part of it all. What is happening now is primarily a question of terminology: Can this also be called marriage?"
Bishop Hans Stiglund from Luleå in the far north of Sweden represents the conservative side of the church and does not hide his aversion for the new ruling:
"In my way of looking at it marriage is defined as a relation between man and woman with no room for a relation between partners of the same sex."
The bishop also criticized the way the matter was discussed and spoke of a hasty decision:
"It's a rather important question whether the church has legs to stand on when it comes to defining its faith, and I don't think we have taken the time to do that."
Nils Gårder is one of the delegates of the national church board who voted against same-sex marriages in church:
"There are worries that the church might lose its basis if people were not to be married in church anymore. But I believe that the church will be split by following the controversial proposals of the church board. Introducing traditional marriage procedures for partners of the same gender can be provocative against those who have a different opinion."