The Danish Folketing is expected to approve equal marriage laws today with majorities in both its left-wing and centre-right parliamentary blocs.
Members of the sole house of the Danish parliament are expected to approve the legislation today after an amendment creating a separate system of marriages for gay couples was rejected yesterday.
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.
Kim Klaus Wyon-Sergeant, an editor living in Denmark told PinkNews.co.uk: “Some LGBT media have reported that the proposed law had caused great controversy, but this really cannot be said to be true. One pastor had called for a public demonstration against the law. But the demonstration, which had been announced on Facebook, only drew 19 people and was therefore cancelled.”
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.
Former justice minister Birthe Ronn Honbech has equated gays with the hermaphrodite ‘killer snails’ plaguing the country in her arguments against equal marriage rights. According to b.dk, she added today that the government was “wiping out an ancient culture and popular theological self-understanding, namely that we are two sexes”.
Mr Wyon-Sargeant added: “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.”
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 the move: “It’s liberalism, it’s diversity, it’s equality, it’s tolerance and it’s so beautiful.”
Denmark’s current system of registered partnerships for gay couples was the first such system in the world when it was enacted in 1989.