A new poll reports that a large
majority of pastors in the Church of Sweden are open to blessing gay
The poll, conducted by Sveriges
Television (SVT), found that 68 percent out of 1700 pastors responded
that they would be willing to officiate at gay marriages performed in
A small minority (21%) disagreed with
church sanctioned gay marriages, while 11 percent refused to answer.
Sweden is likely to become the seventh
country to legalize gay marriage. A gay marriage bill was introduced
in the Riskdag, Sweden's parliament, last week and enjoys wide
Lawmakers in Sweden approved civil
unions for gay couples in 1995. The law offers gay and lesbians the
same legal status as married heterosexual couples, including the
right to adopt.
But a large majority of Swedes (74%)
belong to the Lutheran Church of Sweden, creating a separation
between civil and church ceremonies. The church has been blessing
gay unions since 2007, but has said it would like to reserve the word
marriage for heterosexual unions. Church officials plan to consider
the issued at a meeting scheduled for next autumn.
Under the timetable set out in the bill
gay marriage would become available May 1.
The new legislation calls for Sweden to
become the first country in the world to allow gays to marry within a
“There's a very clear majority that
is open to this. And having so many pastors on board clearly makes
it easier for the Church of Sweden to take such a decision,” said
archbishop Anders Wejryd to SVT.