Denmark votes for gay wedding ceremonies at church
Published 09 June 2012 | Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian Post
Denmark, the first country to allow gay couples to enter into civil unions in 1989, will now be allowing homosexuals to have full wedding ceremonies at church.
Sweden and Iceland already support full same-sex marriages as well. The Bill in Denmark, after being presented by the center-left government earlier this year, passed on Thursday with a 85-24 vote.
The law is due to come into effect on 15 June.
"This is equality between couples of the same gender and couples of different genders. A major step forward," said Danish Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs Manu Sareen following the vote.
An annex to the Bill allows pastors opposed to homosexuality to decline to marry couples.
The only party in parliament opposed to the Bill was the Danish People's Party, which argued that the government should not be changing the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
The Christian Democratic Party, which is no longer in parliament, announced that it will initiate a class action lawsuit against the new law.
One former member of parliament for the Christian Democrats, Per Oerum Joergensen, even claimed that a recent poll showed that "440,000 members of the church were considering renouncing their membership because of all this".
"They will be able to join the suit against the state," Joergensen added.
Popular website Denmark.net puts the number of Danes who are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at 85 per cent, with another 3 per cent of the population belonging to the Roman Catholic faith, and another 2 per cent professing to be Muslims.