Norway's Lutheran Church will begin
blessing the marriages of gay and lesbian couples on Wednesday after
church officials voted Monday in favor of new ceremonial language.
Delegates of Norway's largest church
last April approved the plan in principle during its annual
conference in Oslo, but did not agree on wording, according to
The new marriage text will be gender
neutral, removing the words “bride” and “groom.”
Gard Sandaker-Nilsen, leader of the
Open Public Church, a religious movement within the church,
campaigned for the change.
“I hope that all churches in the
world can be inspired by this new liturgy,” Sandaker-Nilsen said.
Norway legalized marriage for gay
couples in 2009, roughly 16 years after it approved same-sex
Other churches which bless the
marriages of gay couples include the Lutheran Church of Sweden, the
French Protestant Church and the U.S. Presbyterian Church.