Church of Sweden welcomes gay marriage

The Church of Sweden is welcoming religious marriage for gay couples, after the largest party in the Swedish coalition government committed to new legislation allowing gay couples to marry.


Swedish gay and lesbian couples have had the right to civil partnerships since 1995. A parliamentary committee last year recommended that gay couples should be given full marriage rights, including the right to get married in the national Church of Sweden.


Last year’s parliamentary committee report also suggested that individual priests should be able to decide whether or not to perform gay weddings.


In 2006 the church approved blessings of same-sex partnerships and only a tenth of the priests in the Church of Sweden have signed a petition opposing gay and lesbian church weddings.


Opinion polls show that 46% of Swedes are in favour of gay marriage, with 31% opposed.