A Danish vicar has apologised to the bereaved partner and daughter of a woman he refused to bury because she was a lesbian.

After the 74-year-old died, her 80-year-old partner, with whom she had lived in a registered partnership for twenty years, and daughter approached the church to bury her.

Kirsten Østergaard told DR1: “I thought – can this really be possible that we have to be ashamed? I looked at my mother’s partner and she was silent. I was upset for her. What a terrible situation to put her in.”

The vicar said he had decided to refuse Ms Østergaard’s mother a funeral because he did not want to perform gay wedding ceremonies and thought he should not therefore perform other church services for gays.

According to politiken.dk, following complaints the vicar said: “I made an exceptional mistake. The biggest mistake I have ever made in my time as a vicar. It was a gaffe and short-circuit of dimensions and completely against what I believe in.

“But it was a completely wrong conclusion. I have asked for forgiveness, initially from two of the family.”

The bereaved daughter responded: “What use is that to me? This is about his views about humanity, and I don’t think those have changed. He has probably regretted it, but not because of us – rather because he has put himself in a very bad light.”