Danish lawmakers propose church weddings for gay couples
March 31 2004 1:00 AM ET
Denmark's opposition Socialist People's Party presented a bill to parliament on Tuesday that would open the way for allowing gays and lesbians to marry in church, parliamentarian sources told Agence France-Presse. "The current law bars all religious communities from wedding homosexual couples. Our proposal aims to change this legislation and to stop the political interference in religious matters by giving all churches the freedom to make their own decision on whether or not to wed homosexuals," the author of the proposal, Kamal Qreishi, told AFP. The bill will be debated in parliament over coming months, he said.
Denmark was the first country in the world to legally recognize gay and lesbian couples in October 1989 when it approved so-called registered partnerships. Since then, however, gays in Denmark have fought for the right to get married in church. The head of Denmark's liberal-conservative government, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, provoked an uproar in January when he said he was in favor of equal rights to
religious marriage for all couples, including same-sex couples. "I find it hard to believe that God would be harder on homosexuals and lesbians than on other people," he wrote in a magazine column. "[But] politicians should not interfere in the internal life of the church and should leave ritual in the hands of pastors and parish councilors." Denmark's religion minister, Tove Fergo, has previously stated that it is up to the Evangelical-Lutheran state church to petition the government and parliament for legal changes if it in fact wants to alter the legislation surrounding marriage rituals.