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Norway PM backs gay church weddings

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Norway PM backs gay church weddings
Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Parliament in Oslo on Wednesday morning. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB Scanpix
11:42 CEST+02:00
Norway's Prime Minister has declared her support for gay church weddings, although she argues the decision on whether to allow them is up to the Church of Norway.
"Personally, I believe that gays should be allowed to marry in church," Erna Solberg, the leader of the country's Conservativbe Party told Norway's NRK network on Wednesday. "This is the way I, as a church member, want the church to go."
 
However, she said she respected the decision of last week's Synod not to draw up a liturgy which would allow such marriages to take place. 
 
"We have separated the church and the state, and so I have to respect that it is the church who makes these decisions," she said. 
 
Denmark's government, which has an almost identical relation to its church, in 2012 brought in a law forcing all churches run by the Church of Denmark to offer religious weddings for gay couples. 
 
The proposal to introduce a marriage liturgy for homosexual couples was voted down during the synod on April 8, with 64 of 115 votes going against the proposal, and 51 in favour. 
 
In October, eight of the country's twelve bishops declared themselves in favour of allowing same-sex couples to have full church weddings. But, after discussions with the four opposing bishops, they agreed to push for a simpler blessing ceremony at the synod to avoid splitting the church. 
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