Church of Norway approves local option on gay marriage

The Church of Norway’s House of Bishops has approved the creation of rites for the blessing of same-sex marriages

The Church of Norway’s House of Bishops has approved the creation of rites for the blessing of same-sex marriages. On 30 Oct 2015 the Rt. Rev. Helga Haugland Byfuglien, president of the Bishops’ Conference, said a “united bishops meeting has approved the drawing up of liturgies for marrying same sex couples.” In 2008 the Norwegian government authorized same-sex marriages and asked the state Lutheran Church to prepare a liturgy for its use. However, the church has so far refused to act and has been sharply divided over the issue. In 2013 eight of the church’s 12 bishops said they would approve same-sex marriages in their dioceses, but declined to act in deference to the views of the minority. Following Friday’s announcement Bishop Byfuglien told NTB: “There are different perceptions of marriage among same sex couples both in the Norwegian Church and among the bishops. But we are keen to find a decision that could have a unifying effect.” The issue will now be presented to the church’s general synod which meets in March. It is expected to endorse the vote. If endorsed, a committee will be tasked with creating the liturgy which will then be presented to the 2017 meeting of synod for final approval.

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