Lutheran Church in Denmark Blesses Same-Sex "Marriage"

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, AUG. 6, 2001 ( The Danish Lutheran Church will permit homosexual couples to receive an ecclesiastical blessing at the time of their civil wedding, government sources said.

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Such ceremonies will require the presence of a mayor to consecrate the civil union, which will be followed by a religious service during which the couple will receive the Lutheran Church´s blessing.

Johannes Lebech, Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs, told the Kristelig Dagblad newspaper that while the law is in force, no impediments will be placed for a joint ceremony including an ecclesiastical blessing.

Lebech´s decision elicited protest among some Lutheran bishops. Bishop Jan Lindhardt of Roskilde said that the government ministry´s proposal is contrary to the line made clear by the bishops in 1997, regarding ceremonies for de facto unions.

A 1989 law allows the civil marriage of a same-sex couple, so long as one partner is Danish. These couples are given the same legal rights as heterosexual families except for the adoption of children.

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