Gay marriage becomes legal in Sweden today

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A gender-neutral marriage law in Sweden has come into force today, meaning gay couples can now marry in the country in religious or civil ceremonies.

However, they cannot yet get married in church ceremonies.

AFP reports that the Lutheran Church, which was the state church until 2000, has said that while it supports the new law, it will not formally decide whether to perform gay marriage ceremonies until October.

Andreas Lindberg, church’s interim secretary general, told the news provider: “The marriage act reflects a certain view of marriage, and the liturgy needs to be altered to reflect that change.

He added that only a small number of gay couples had applied to marry in the church, saying: “No, we’ve seen no indication of huge demand. We believe the message has gotten through to the public that same-sex couples can’t get married in the Lutheran Church yet.”

In January 2007 the Church, which was disestablished in 2000, began offering religious blessings to gay unions and actively welcomed LGBT clergy.

Six of the seven parties in Swedish parliament backed the proposal to introduce a gender-neutral marriage law.

The proposal passed with a 261 to 22 vote and 16 abstentions.

The only party to oppose the ruling were the Christian Democrats, stating that the party wanted to maintain “a several hundred-year-old concept” of marriage.

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