Swedish Lutheran Church Takes Step Toward Legally Blessing Same-Sex Union

( [email protected] ) Oct 26, 2003 10:53 PM EST

In what seems to be a continuing downward spiral of ethics and morals within the current church, Sweden’s national church took its first step to legally bless same-sex marriages.

The senior clerics of the Swedish Lutheran Church – one of the world’s most liberal churches – voted this week to consider a draft proposal to make homosexual unions legally binding.

During a news conference, the head of the church, Archbishop K G Hammar said, “It is a step towards making (gay weddings) reality, but a solid theological foundation is needed before the church can go further."

While advocates for same-sex unions celebrated the announcement as a “prophetic role upon itself,” opponents put forward a counterproposal for the church to recognize the union that exists only between a man and a woman.

"I feel disappointed. Although they had a majority here at the annual meeting, I do not think the majority of active church members will support this decision," said Nils Arne Rehnstrom, a priest from the town of Pitea in northern Sweden.

The Swedish Church, formed soon after German cleric Martin Luther split with Roman Catholicism in the 16th century starting the Reformation, is one of the world's most liberal on sexual issues, allowing gay ministers and gay marriage blessings.