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AL: Church to give up license to marry over same-sex unions?

The Tampere daily Aamulehti reports on Sunday that the Lutheran church may give up the right to perform official marriage ceremonies if a law on same-sex marriage passes parliament. Bishop of Porvoo Björn Vikström told the paper that he has considered how the church might reconcile itself with the possible new law.

Piispaksi vihittävä Björn Vikström
Bishop Björn Vikström Image: YLE

The church should consider giving up the right to perform marriages if a law on gender-neutral marriage passes parliament, according to the bishop of Porvoo Björn Vikström. He made the comments in an interview with Aamulehti, saying that the move might ease conflicts within the church over who it should marry.

The church would then bless unions in church. Vikström believes that same-sex couples should also have the right to see their marriage blessed in church.

"I think it should be like that, but I know that this too is a difficult question for the church," Vikström told Aamulehti. "Maybe it isn’t quite as difficult a question as marrying gay couples."

Even if parliament did pass a law allowing gay marriages, churches would not be compelled to host gay marriage ceremonies. Vikström says that it is in any case important to consider different options. They would be: continue as normal, with no gay marriages in churches; continue to marry couples, including gay couples; and giving up the right to officially marry couples at all.

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