The government body for The Norwegian Church voted as expected on Monday in favour of a new wedding liturgy that can be used in same-sex marriages. It means that same-sex marriages can be held in the church from February 1, with proponents calling the vote “joyful” and “historic.”
It came just three years after a majority of those setting church policy voted against approving a liturgy for same-sex marriages. Since then, however, active campaigning led to the election of more liberal delegates who can vote at the decisive Kirkemøtet (literally, “Church Meeting”), and last year’s meeting opened up for same-sex marriages by voting in favour of creating the new liturgy. Several Norwegian bishops have also gone along with allowing homo- and transsexuals to marry in the church.
The new liturgy was approved on Monday by a vote of 83 in favour and 29 against. It followed an apology to homosexuals made by the new leader of Kirkemøtet, Kristin Gunleiksrud Raaum, over the way they’d been treated by the church in the past.
Not everyone was in favour of the liberalization, and more people are thus expected to withdraw from what used to be Norway’s state church but now functions as a Lutheran church in line with all other faiths in Norway. All receive state funding based on the membership, so The Norwegian Church remains the largest in the country.