Sigmund Akselsen performs a service at Oslo's Grefsen Church. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix
More people than ever are dropping their membership in the Church of Norway – could the approval of gay marriage be a driving force?
Figures from the Church of Norway show that 4,200 people have withdrawn their membership thus far in 2016, Dagen reported. The numbers are on the rise, as more people left the church through the first half of April than in any of the year's previous three months.
While an average of 900 people per month dropped their membership in January, February and March, 1,092 have already left the Church of Norway in April.
“I wouldn't call it dramatic, but every signal withdrawal is unfortunate and sad,” church spokesman Ole Inge Bekkelund told Dagen.
The numbers indicate that 2016 could be a record year for withdrawals from the church. In 2014, roughly 9,000 people dropped their membership as the church debated, and ultimately shot down
, the idea of gay marriage.
“I wouldn't say it is a natural interpretation because we don't have any underlying information that can give us a clear indication. It quickly becomes guesswork, so it's difficult to comment on it,” he told Dagen.