COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Danish parliament on Thursday approved legislation that legalizes same-sex marriage in the Scandinavian country.
The vote was 85 to 24.
The law, which takes effect June 15, will put Denmark on equal footing with other Scandinavian countries such as Iceland and Sweden which allow full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, to which 80 percent of the Danish population belongs, will be able to perform marriage ceremonies under the new laws. New rites were written up by ten of the Church’s eleven bishops in a spirit of “good cooperation”, Bishop Kjeld Holm said.
Same-sex couples will be able to marry in churches of their choice but priests will not be obliged to perform weddings. They would, however, need to help the couple find a priest who would marry them at the church under the new law.
In 1989, Denmark became the first country to allow the registration of gay partnerships. Since 1997 gay couples in Denmark can be wed in special blessing ceremonies at the end of regular church service.
Today’s measure passed after lawmakers rejected an amendment creating a separate system of marriages for gay couples was rejected yesterday.
Kim Klaus Wyon-Sergeant, a British freelance writer and photographer living in Denmark told British news site Pink News.
“Members of the Christian Democrats (a party that is not represented in parliament) plan to sue the state, believing that the law infringes on their freedom of religion. However experts say they dont have much of a chance since the law specifically allows ministers of the church to abstain from presiding over same-sex marriages.”