Seventy-four percent of Norwegians are Lutheran, and its Lutheran Church voted earlier this week (88 affirmative votes out of 115) to allow same-sex marriage, though individual priests who disagree can still object, according to a Reuters report.
The vote by Norway’s Lutheran Church reflects increasingly liberal attitudes in wider Norwegian society to issues such as homosexuality.
Norway became the second country in the world after Denmark to allow same-sex registered partnerships in 1993. The Nordic country of 5.2 million people has allowed civil same-sex marriage since 2009.
From the Manila Times:
“It’s a signal to Norwegian society that homosexuals should not be treated differently, and also a signal to the rest of the world, especially other churches: love between two same-sex people must also be recognised in a religious arena,” Gard Realf Sandaker-Nielsen, the head of the liberal Open Church movement, told Agence France-Presse, himself a homosexual.
Opponents, in the minority, had argued that the Bible defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
In practice, gay weddings in the Lutheran Church will be possible after the adoption of a new marriage rite due to be adopted at another synod in Jan. 2017.
“I’m not different,” Kai Steffen Ostensen, a delegate, told the synod. “I’m a person. I’m just a person who loves another person,” he said.