Via Integra

Fr Mark's progressive Anglo-Catholic take on European Christianity

  • This is my collection of material about the current state of the churches in Europe. I am interested in looking at how they are dealing with the pressing issues of our time: the issues of gay people and women in ministry/ leadership are particularly pressing at the moment, as is the area of declining church attendance.

    I would like to see how Europe's traditional religious institutions are coping with the new Europe currently being forged, in which public opinion and ethical attitudes are becoming inceasingly pan-European, and are evidently presenting a series of strong challenges for the churches.

Iceland – the gay issue

Posted by Fr Mark on August 15, 2009

icelandFirst Gay Couple in Iceland Marries in Church
 
From Iceland Review online, 27.06.08:

Árni Thór Arnthórsson and his American fiancé Paris Prince will be the first gay couple to get married in church in Iceland early next month after a new law on the right of religious associations to confirm cohabitation of gay couples took affect today.

“We didn’t know we’d be the first to get married in church after the law amendment,” Arnthórsson told 24 Stundir. “To us it is about the church being open to everyone and standing strong as one of the most important human rights institutions in the world. We are all equal before God.”

Prince also grew up with Christian values. “We are religious but practice religion in our own way,” he said. “I’m very happy about being here and taking part in this important step towards further change.”

Separate laws are valid for the confirmation on cohabitation for straight and gay couples. Hrafnkell Tjörvi Stefánsson at Samtökin 78, the National Organization of Lesbians and Gay Men in Iceland, said although today’s law amendment is a step in the right direction, there should be one law for all.

Rev. Bjarni Karlsson, who will marry Arnthórsson and Prince in Lauganeskirkja in Reykjavík, celebrates his newfound right to do so. “We live in a society where we not just tolerate other people, but respect them and their lives.” 

Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, high chieftain of Ásatrúarfélagid, a religious organization for those who believe in the pagan Icelandic/Nordic gods, agrees. “We have fought for this matter for a long time, that is, to have the right to marry gay couples.”

Today, Samtökin 78 celebrates its 30th anniversary and the day is also an international day of action for homosexuals and lesbians.

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