A gender-neutral wedding ritual far off
Although the new marriage law was passed Wednesday, it will take a while before there is a new liturgy for marrying lesbian and homosexual couples.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them” is part of the current liturgy for a church wedding. If homosexuals and lesbians are to be married in church, an alternative liturgy is needed. Head of the National Council of the Church of Norway, Nils Tore Andersen believes this is unlikely to happen in the immediate future.
- No liturgy for a same sex wedding exists, and there are no specific plans to create one, Andersen says, adding that no priest can perform a legal marriage unless the National Council has approved of a wedding ritual, which is not a topic for the meeting scheduled for this autumn.
According to Andersen, the Church is under great pressure to deal with this situation.
- This matter occupies many, also because it sends out signals. Now it’s all down to the Church, he says.
The Open Church Group for Lesbians and Gays is pushing for a new liturgy. Head of the group, Gard Realf H Nilsen says they have been working on this for a while, but the matter is even more pressing at the moment. He adds that within the Church there are several who wish for a new liturgy.
- We already have several drafts for a new liturgy ready. The current wedding ritual only needs minor alterations, he says.
Nielsen thinks it unlikely there will be a new liturgy anytime soon, at least not until new members are elected by the General Synod in 2010. Head of the National Council agrees.
When the Church is ready
Head of the Rogaland division of the organisation Skeiv Ungdom (Queer Youth), Hans Heen Sikkeland, thinks it unwise to pressure the Church to make a new liturgy.
- The Church isn’t united on this question, and I believe it’s important to listen to their point of view, and allow for a debate within the Church before we start putting pressure on them, Heen Sikkeland says.
Both Heen Sikkeland and Nilsen are planning to get married, but for now they will have to settle for a civil ceremony followed by a church blessing. Sikkeland is getting married this summer already and is very pleased with the new law. Nilsen has to wait another year.
- I belong to a church denomination and have priests around me that I’ve asked to give us their blessing, Nilsen says.
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