The Church of Sweden has appointed a lesbian as the Lutheran bishop of Stockholm.

Eva Brunne, who is in a registered partnership, is believed to be the world’s first lesbian bishop.

She won the post by 413 votes against 365 votes and will succeed Bishop Caroline Krook, who is to retire in November.

Brunne, 55, has a three-year-old son with her partner Gunilla Linden, who is a priest.

She has been praised for her natural authority, enthusiasm and sense of humour, telling one reporter who asked about her hobbies: “I read crime fiction. And I carve. The things you do to conform to Jesus, huh?”

Following her appointment, Brunne said: “I am happy and very proud to be part of a church that encourages people to make their own decisions.” She added: “Diversity is a big wealth.”

A gender-neutral marriage law in Sweden came into force on May 1st, meaning gay couples can now marry in the country in religious or civil ceremonies.

However, they cannot yet get married in church ceremonies.

The Lutheran Church, which was the state church until 2000, has said that while it supports the new law, it will not formally decide whether to perform gay marriage ceremonies until October.