The Danish parliament has approved equal marriage laws 85 to 24 today, reports said today.

Members of the sole house of the Folketing approved the gender-neutral marriage legislation today after an opposition amendment creating a separate system of marriage for gay couples under different terminology was rejected yesterday.

The new law is due to come into effect on 15 June this year, b.dk reported.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, to which 80 percent of the Danish population belongs, will be able to perform marriage ceremonies under the new laws. New rites were written up by ten of the Church’s eleven bishops in a spirit of “good cooperation”, Bishop Kjeld Holm said.

Gay couples will be able to marry in churches of their choice but priests will not be obliged to perform weddings. They would, however, need to help the couple find a priest who would marry them at the church under the new laws.

Kim Klaus Wyon-Sergeant, an editor living in Denmark told PinkNews.co.uk: “Members of the Christian Democrats (a party that is not represented in parliament) plan to sue the state, believing that the law infringes on their freedom of religion. However experts say they dont have much of a chance since the law specifically allows ministers of the church to abstain from presiding over same-sex marriages.”

Denmark’s current system of registered partnerships for gay couples was the first of its kind in the world when it was enacted in 1989.

Manu Sareen, the Minister for Equality and Church and Nordic Cooperation in the coalition government of the Social Democrats, Social Liberal Party and Socialist People’s Party said of equal marriage: “It’s liberalism, it’s diversity, it’s equality, it’s tolerance and it’s so beautiful.”

Mr Sareen announced the government’s intention to legalise gay marriages in October last year.