Swedish Church: Gay Marriage, Ja
October 22 2009 4:30 PM EST
November 17 2015 5:28 AM EST
The Church of Sweden will perform marriages for same-sex couples beginning November 1, following an overwhelmingly favorable vote by church board members Thursday.
The board voted 176-62 to allow clergy to perform the ceremonies, with 11 members abstaining and two absent, the Associated Press reports.
Sweden, after having marriage-like partnerships to gay couples for several years, last spring adopted a law granting gays equal marriage rights. Church participation was optional.
The Lutheran-affiliated Church of Sweden had blessed gay partnerships since 1997 but until now had not endorsed marriage equality. It was the national church until 2000, when state support ceased.
Church archbishop Anders Wejryd praised Thursday's decision, and the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights called it "a big step in the right direction."