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Sweden's State Church Prepares To Bless Gay Unions


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Sweden's State Church Prepares To Bless Gay Unions

by Malcolm Thornberry 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief

Posted: October 13, 2005 9:00 pm ET

(Stockholm) The Church of Sweden is expected to endorse a proposal to create a liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions.

The official church in the Scandinavian country will make a final decision later this month when the full Church Assembly meets, but the proposal has already won the endorsement of the powerful Liturgical Committee.

To receive the blessing service a couple would have to have signed a civil partnership agreement. Although Sweden does not permit same-sex marriage it has a form of civil unions where couples sign an official registry. They are then accorded many, but not all of the rights of a civil marriage.

Not all members of the committee are in favor of the blessings. One priest, Alve Svensson, said that it would rock the foundation of the church.

"This is down to our conviction that homosexuality, when practiced, contravenes the New Testament," he told church paper Kyrkans Tidning.

LGBT rights groups are also unhappy. They would have liked the church to have gone further and offer regular wedding services to same-sex couples.

"While I think this is a positive step that they are acknowledging relationships is this way, I think it's sad that they won't offer the same ceremonies to all couples," said Sören Andersson, chairman of RFSL, Sweden's largest gay organization.

"It has taken 30 years for us to come this far; I hope it doesn't take another 30 years for us to be offered the same ceremonies."

Meanwhile, a government committee is looking at revising the partnership law to permit same-sex marriage. Currently only three European countries - The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain - allow gay couples to wed. It is expected that the committee will take more than a year to complete its work.

©365Gay.com 2005


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