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Swedish gays may get church weddings

Tony Grew August 24, 2006

We are told it is what every girl dreams of: the big church wedding.

Proposals before the Swedish government could see that dream become a reality for the country’s gay and lesbian couples.

Until 2000 the Church of Sweden was established, meaning was is the official state religion. It now has autonomy from the government.

A report to the government suggests replacing the current civil partnership arrangement with marriage in churches or registry offices, reports SVT.

Earlier this year, the church approved blessings of same-sex partnerships and actively welcomed LGBT clergy.

Arthur Thiery, head of Riks-Ekho, a gay Christian group, said: “Those of us who have entered a civil union would have chosen to marry if the opportunity had existed.”

Depsite its reputation as a bastion of liberalism, a survey shows 31% of the population oppose gay marriage, with a further 23% unsure.

A tenth of the priests in the Church of Sweden signed a petition opposing the change to church weddings.

The subtle distinction between marriage and partnership has become a point of disagreement in many countries.

The report suggests that individual priests would decide whether or not to perform gay weddings.

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