One in five priests refuse to wed same-sex couples

One in five priests refuse to wed same-sex couples
A week has passed since homosexual couples were given the right to tie the knot in church. Yet, 18 percent of priests in the Gothenburg region say they refuse to preside over gay weddings.

A survey by the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper questioned 147 priests in the local diocese on their willingness to wed gay couples. A total of 18 percent said they would not partake in marriage ceremonies.

Since November 1st, gay couples have been given the blessing to marry in church.

It following a decision by the Synod of the Church of Sweden in October, which also gave priests a right to refuse to partake in same-sex nuptials.

”When I was ordained I promised to preach as it is in the Holy Scriptures,” Ingemar Scott, a priest from the Landala parish, told GP.

”Because of that promise it is impossible for me to marry same-sex couples.”

Scott also believes there is a majority of priests who share his views outside the Gothenburg region and those that refuse to marry gay couples are subject to a discrimination label.

”The Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. If I have that opinion I am, by default, one of those who is discriminating against same-sex couples.” he adds.

Yet, that seven out of ten priests are willing to marry gay couples is enough according to priest Gunnar Bäckström, chair of the Ecumenical Group for Christian HBT People (EKHO).

What is most important, he says, is that the church has taken a step forward in HBT questions.

”For those that choose not to, it’s a case of how democracy works,” he said.

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