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History is made: First same-sex church wedding performed in Norway

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History is made: First same-sex church wedding performed in Norway
Kjell Frølich Benjaminsen and Erik Skjelnæs were wed at the stroke of midnight. Photo: Fredrik Varfjell / NTB scanpix
10:35 CET+01:00
In the very second that the clock struck midnight and the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church's new liturgy allowing gay couples to marry in church weddings came into force, Kjell Frølich Benjaminsen and Erik Skjelnæs tied the knot in Eidskog Church.
A church synod voted on Monday to approve the new liturgy, or service, allowing same-sex couples to get married in the church. 
 
At the stroke of midnight, Benjaminsen and Skjelnæs stood before the altar and made their vows in front of pastor Bettina Eckbo, who led the historic ceremony. 
 
“It was great fun and really cosy to be a part of,” Eckbo told NTB. 
 
The newlyweds have lived together for 36 years – longer than Eckbo has been alive. 
 
“They already represent the values that marriage is about – faithfulness and supporting one another on good days and bad,” she said. 
 
The ceremony marks a new milestone for gays and lesbians in Norway, which like its Nordic neighbours is at the forefront of gay rights in Europe. Civil marriage and adoption have been open to gays since 2009 and the Church also authorises the ordination of homosexuals.
 
“In many ways, these two men have lived through a lot of the recent history of homosexuals. When they got together in 1981, it must have seemed very unreal for them to think that they would one day get married in the church,” Eckbo said. 
 
The newly-married couple had previously stated that after waiting so long to get married they felt like they didn't have another second to spare. So when the new liturgy took effect at 12am on Wednesday, they took full advantage of it. 
 
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