Approval for gay marriage in church is continuing to spread across several denominations and regions, not only in civil law. The Lutheran Church in Norway is the latest example, giving overwhelming support in a church conference. (Formal change to the rules will come later). As time goes by, there will be more denominations giving formal approval, and more local groups and pastors conducting marriages or blessing services without approval. (And yes, that already includes some Catholic priests, in some regions). For LGBT Christians, especially the young coming to terms with their sexuality for the first time, this is of major importance. It will become increasingly difficult for some Christian pastors to sustain the traditional line that loving, committed same-sex relationships are inherently and obviously sinful, while others are giving public endorsements of those relationships in front of their local congregations. Instead, the opponents will have to start to come up with sound scriptural and theological evidence for their views – and will find that such evidence is much flimsier than they have supposed.
Church of Norway Officially Embraces Gay Marriage: ‘A Historic…Shift in the Church’s Teaching on Marriage’
The Church of Norway voted at its annual conference on Monday to allow gay marriage, with the Christian body joining the French Protestant Church, the U.S. Episcopal and Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) denominations, among others, in now supporting same-sex unions.
Of the 115 delegates at the Lutheran denomination’s synod, 88 backed embracing gay marriage, while also including a caveat for priests who do not wish to take part in same-sex weddings that allows them to opt out of doing so, Reuters reported.
The denomination itself called the institutional change “a historic decision that marks a shift in the church’s teaching on marriage,” with the vote reportedly receiving a standing ovation from most of the participants in attendance.