Same Sex Marriage at State Church of Norway Proposal Leads to Division

The former Bishop of Agder and Telemark, Olav Skjevesland disagrees with both the core of the decision of the Priestly Society (Presteforeningen) and the proceedings. He has been a member of the association for 44 years, reports NTB.

In December, the Priestly Society’s central board advocated that the Norwegian Church should introduce marriage liturgy for same-sex couples. The decision led to a stream of resignations from both active and retired priests.

An unanimous Supervisory Board on Wednesday gave the association board criticism of the organizational review of the case. The decision was not questioned.

Priestly Society is a trade union which organizes the Norwegian Church priests and theological candidates. The Association was established in 1900 and had over 2 500 members at the beginning of 2013. Just before Christmas, about 50 of the members opted out from the organization with the start of the discussion about same sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Norway on January 1, 2009 when a gender neutral marriage bill was enacted after being passed by the Norwegian legislature in June 2008. Norway became the first Scandinavian country and the sixth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. However, there is no regulation about churches’ obligations in marriages.

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