Denmark's churches obliged to conduct gay marriages
In a poorly written piece in The Telegraph, we read that 'Homosexual couples in Denmark have won the right to get married in any church they choose, even though nearly one third of the country's priests have said they will refuse to carry out the ceremonies'. Apparently, the Danish parliament voted through the new law which makes it 'mandatory for all churches to conduct gay marriages'.
This is, of course, utter nonsense and very poor journalism. The parliamentary vote related only to the mainstream Evangelical Lutheran Church, to which about 80 percent of Danes profess to belong: it is their equivalent of the CofE. Other churches may also offer same-sex marriage services, but only in accordance with their own rules: none is being forced to conduct anything which is contrary to their historical traditions and theological orthodoxy.
Except, of course, the Lutherans. God knows what Martin would make of it.
The legislation does permit individual Lutheran ministers who are opposed to same-sex marriage to decline to officiate. In such circumstances, the Telegraph informs us, 'the local bishop must arrange a replacement for their church'.
Note the 'must', which does appear to be the case. It is not clear what happens when the bishop is also opposed in conscience to same-sex marriage.
We read that the only party in the Danish parliament opposed to the Bill is the 'far right' Danish People's Party, which argued that the government should not be changing the traditional definition of marriage. Quite why the Telegraph chose to tag opposition to same-sex marriage as 'far right' is unknown: they ought to read some of their own blogs if they want a taste of religio-political extremism. The Christian Democratic Party, which is no longer in parliament, announced that it will initiate a class action lawsuit against the new law. It is rumoured that some 440,000 members of the Lutheran Church are considering renouncing their memberships because of the development.
This is important for the debate in the UK, because it is clear that same-sex 'civil marriage' will have implications for 'religious marriage': it is highly likely that ministers of the established Church of England will eventually be obliged by statute to officiate at homosexual unions, and where they demur, the local bishop will be obliged to provide a replacement. His Grace has heard from more than one source that the Prime Minister is telling his constituents in Witney that 'religious marriage' will inevitably be affected by his proposed legislation. It is interesting, is it not, that by enforcing gender blindness at the altar with the objective of making minorities equal, the Prime Minister is content to cause division in the Church and strife for the majority. It is appalling politics.