Brides and Bishops

Saturday's Stockholm Pride was one of Europe's biggest gay festivals, bringing in an estimated 30,000 visitors to the capital. Even the Church of Sweden was in on the act, with the Bishop of Stockholm officiating at the opening ceremony. Yet Stockholm City Council wasn't about to join in the fun.

While Social Democrat politicians such as Integration Minister Mona Sahlin were on hand to march in the parade, when it came to crowns and öre the politicians were decidedly less keen to show their support.

The chairman of the trust behind the ceremony told DN that they were paying 25,000 crowns to the City Council just to deck the place out in rainbow flags, the symbol of the gay movement. On top of this there were electricity, phone and Internet costs, all of which were met by the organizers, Håkan Steenberg told the paper. “I’m disappointed that [mayor] Annika Billström doesn’t seem to understand how much Stockholm earns from gay tourism,” he said.

In something of a role reversal, while the city’s Social Democrats appeared to distance themselves from the festivities, it was left up to the church to make a firm stand on gay rights. Bishop Caroline Krook, dressed for the occasion in striking pink, opened the festival and told the crowds that the church’s ‘highest decision-making organ’ would work to get gay partnerships blessed in church, reported Svenska Dagbladet.

Not that her blessing for the parade meant that she was condoning everything that was going on. In an article in DN, she pointed out that “a football fan doesn’t need to take moral responsibility for the actions of hooligans”.

Who were the hooligans of Pride? The bishop left this up to the imagination, although one would imagine that the dress code of the Scandinavian Leather Men might meet with raised eyebrows at the Church of Sweden.