Gay Priest in Progressive Swedish Church Refuses to Marry Straight Couples

An openly gay priest in the Church of Sweden, one of Europe’s most progressive protestant churches, has vowed to stop marrying heterosexual couples to protest a rule which gives newly ordained priests the choice to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples or not.

During an interview with the state-run broadcaster Sverige Radio, Gårdfeldt, who’s been an LGBTQ activist for over two decades, stated that he will continue refusing to marry straight couples so long as the rule remains in place.

Gårdfeldt’s argued that if straight priests are permitted to deny marriage ceremonies to same-sex couples, then gay priests like himself should be able to choose not to marry straight couples.

“Then the same thing must apply to me as a homosexual, then I can say no to heterosexual couples,” he said. 

“I want to show the absurdity, theologically and ethically reprehensible, of denying marriage to consenting adults. I want to turn the debate right. We should not recruit new anti-gay priests. We should not ordain new priests who pass on the idea that homosexuals are inferior people,” Gårdfeldt told the Göteborgs-Posten in a separate interview.

The Church of Sweden is presently the largest Lutheran denomination on the European continent, and it’s well-known for its laissez-faire, live and let live, attitude on social issues. Despite its left-liberal orientation, the church has witnessed a rapid decline in its membership rapidly over the past two decades. As result, the church was forced to permanently close 104 of its churches between 2000 and 2019.

The church is projected to lose as many as one million members by 2028, according to calculations made by the diocese.

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