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Salvation Army in Norway bars gay man

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Salvation Army in Norway bars gay man
The Salvation Army doling out free soup for Christmas (The man in the picture is Labour MP Arild Stokkan-Grande and not Are Veraas, the gay man in the story) - Labour Party/Norway
14:11 CET+01:00
A member of the Salvation Army in Norway has been barred from becoming a secretary in the organisation because he is gay.
Are Veraas has been a member of the Christian charity since he was 19, and was overjoyed when he was asked last month to act as a secretary to the congregation .
 
After he told the Salvation Army's local leadership that he was in a relationship with another man, however, he found the offer suddenly withdrawn. 
 
"To not be true or myself, or to call my boyfriend just 'a friend' so that I'm worthy to be appointed secretary, is just not good enough," Veraas told Norway's TV2 channel. 
 
He said that he had felt completely accepted by the Salvation Army when he first came out as a gay man after his marriage broke up eleven years ago, and never realised that the group's leaders believed he did not have an active sexual life. 
 
"It was mentioned that they thought I was celibate, because I was not living with my wife anymore," he said. 
 
Andrew Hannevik, spokesman for the organisation in Norway, said that the group's local leadership was simply following the guidelines set by the global organisation. 
 
"Gay people in a relationship with others are not permitted to be soldiers or officers in the Salvation Army," he said. "It's based on the fact that the Salvation Army is a Christian church and our understanding of The Bible."    
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