Norway’s state church votes in favor of same-sex marriages

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HELSINKI — In a major ecclesiastical turnaround, a large majority of Norway’s church synod have voted in favor of same-sex marriages.

Of 115 synod members present at the Church of Norway’s council, 88 voted in favor, meaning that the state church will adopt provisions for marrying same-sex couples at its meeting next year and make it part of its official liturgy.

Monday’s decision, however, allows clergy members who disapprove of same-sex marriages to refrain from performing such ceremonies.

The church described the vote as “a historic decision that marks a shift in the church’s teaching on marriage.”

The Evangelical-Lutheran Church is the Scandinavian country’s largest church to which more than 70 percent of the 5.1 million people belong.

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