Denmark Passes Bill Allowing Same-Sex Weddings at Church

Denmark, which stands as the first country to allow gay couples to enter into civil unions in 1989, will now be allowing homosexuals to have full wedding ceremonies at church.

The Scandinavian region is known for being highly gay friendly, as Sweden and Iceland already support full same-sex marriages as well. The bill in Denmark, after being presented by the center-left government earlier this year, passed on Thursday with a 85-24 vote. The law will come into effect on June 15, World News Australia reported.

"This is equality between couples of the same gender and couples of different genders. A major step forward," said Danish Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs Manu Sareen following the vote.

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An annex to the bill allows pastors opposed to homosexuality to decline to marry couples. Furthermore, the only party in parliament opposed to the bill was the Danish People's Party, which argued that the government should not be changing the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. It also said that the bill infringed on the right to religious freedom by forcing this change on Christians, making it an unconstitutional law.

The Christian Democratic Party, which is no longer in parliament, announced that it will initiate a class action lawsuit against the new law.

One former member of parliament for the Christian Democrats, Per Oerum Joergensen, even claimed that a recent poll showed that "440,000 members of the church were considering renouncing their membership because of all this."

"They will be able to join the suit against the state," Joergensen added.

World News Australia reported that 80 percent of Danes, or around 4.5 million people, are members of the state church, which is the Evangelical Lutheran Church. A website that serves as a guide to the nation,, puts that number up to 85 percent, with another 3 percent of the population belonging to the Roman Cathoic faith, and another 2 percent as Muslims.

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