Iceland Mag

5 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Gospel of Christ’s kindness trumps “religious freedom”: The Icelandic Lutheran Church to perform same-sex marriages

By Staff

  • Love and kindness score yet another win The Bishop of Iceland states that same-sex marrages are no longer a controverial issue withn the Lutheran State Church. Photo/Vallii

The congress of the Lutheran State Church, which was held this week, resolved that the church would wholeheartedly support same-sex marriage. The Bishop of Iceland, Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV that same-sex marriage was no longer a controversial topic within the church and that she and other priests respect both the law and human rights.

Priests’ religious liberties vs human rights and the law
While same-sex marriages have been legal since 2010 many in the Lutheran State Church has remained somewhat ambivalent about marrying two individuals of the same sex. Several priests have talked about the importance of respecting their religious or moral freedom, stressing individual priests within the church should have the right to refuse to perform marriage ceremonies if they were opposed to same-sex marriage.

The bishop had previously stated that she supported the idea of priests having a religious or moral right to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. The Minister of the Interior, Ólöf Nordal, had also stated publicly she supported priests’ “moral freedom” to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. Both women have now reversed their positions, it seems, as Ólöf recently stated she believed priests in the state Lutheran Church could not refuse to perform legal marriage ceremonies.

Christian love wins out
Recently the bishop wrote a letter to the Ministry of the Interior, stressing that she would never support rules that violated basic human rights. Asked about her change of heart, Agnes tells RÚV she simply respects the law: “I just respect the law, and this is what the law says”, adding that she does not believe this is an issue within the church anymore. “What matters in this case, is that we follow Christ’s gospel of kindness and love.”

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