Ministers in Sweden’s state church cannot “refuse to marry same-sex couples”, the country’s Prime Minister has said.
Stefan Löfven announced that church leaders should be required to marry same-sex couples – even if they disagree with homosexual marriage.
The Church of Sweden currently allows its ministers to opt out of weddings, baptisms, and funerals for any reason.
Church of Sweden
Making the statement on same-sex marriage, Löfven said “no priest in the Swedish Church can refuse to marry same-sex couples”.
“If you work as a midwife you must be able to perform abortions, otherwise you have to do something else. It is the same for priests who do not want to perform same-sex marriages”, he added.
Marriage was redefined in Sweden in 2009. The Church of Sweden is yet to respond to Löfven’s comments.
The news was reported by Sweden’s national broadcaster SVT. It also indicated that the PM would back making support for same-sex marriage a requirement for ordination.
In the UK, the Church of Scotland recently took steps to allow its ministers to perform same-sex weddings, after debating a report in its General Assembly.
The report, put forward by the influential Theological Forum, acknowledged that the Bible condemns same-sex acts, but claimed Scripture was framed by cultural context.
Marriage was redefined in Scotland in 2014, but individual churches are not required to participate in same-sex ceremonies.
The Kirk will now conduct legal research to determine how same-sex weddings in churches can be allowed.