The Swedish Prime Minister says no priest working for the Church of Sweden should be allowed to refuse to wed same-sex couples.
Stefan Löfven, a Social Democrat, compared priests who refuse to wed same-sex couples with midwives refusing to carry out abortions. He told the Church of Sweden’s newspaper Kyrkans Tidning, “Use Social Democrats work to ensure that all priests should wed all people, including same-sex couples. If you are a midwife you either have to carry out abortions, or you have to find another profession. The same goes for priests who do not want to wed homosexuals.”
Löfven was referring to Swedish Christian midwife Ellinor Grimmark, who was forced to seek work in another country because she refused to participate in abortions. Grimmark has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Sweden since 2009, although individual priests in the Church of Sweden can choose whether to perform same-sex weddings.
Löfven, who is not religious himself, said the state church should an “open democratic church…that stands for equal rights of all people. People who love each other, regardless of their sex, should have the same right to marriage.”
He favors changes in church law that would make a willingness to perform same-sex weddings a requirement for ordination.
The Church of Sweden however, insists that “no priest should be obliged to officiate at the wedding of a same-sex couple”.