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Church of Norway bishops vote in favour of equal marriage

By Shaun Kitchener

Bishops in the Church of Norway have voted to allow same-sex couples to marry in religious ceremonies.

The leaders’ approval is unanimous, according to Premier Christian Radio, but approval is still needed from the Church’s Synod, which meets in April.

gay marriage

“I am extremely satisfied that we succeeded in coming together over this measure,” said Helga Haugland Byfuglien, head of the bishops’ conference.

The Synod rejected a similar bill last year but its line-up has since changed – and eventual approval is expected.

Churches will still be allowed to ‘opt out’, and individual vicars would have the right to turn gay couples away.

It is reported that although not all bishops were completely comfortable with the vote, they still refrained from voting against it.


If all goes to plan with the Synod, the first gay marriages could take place in the country’s churches in 2017.

Couples have been able to marry in the country outside of the church since 1 January 2009, when Norway became the first Scandinavian country and the sixth nation in the world to allow equal marriage.