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Danish vicar refused to bury lesbian after opposing marriage for gays

Stephen Gray May 16, 2012
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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, 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.”

More: Denmark, denmark, Europe, funeral, Gay, lesbian

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