Norway Catholic Church to drop civil weddings in stand against gay marriage

The Catholic Church in Norway will ask permission from the Vatican to drop civil weddings to take a stand against gay marriage and distance itself from the Lutherans.

Xu Na (L) and her new wife Xue Mengyao display their rings after getting married, June 9, 2015. | Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

The Norwegian Lutheran Church has recently announced that it will hold gay marriages. In response to this, Bishop Bernt Eidsvig of Oslo announced that the Catholic Church's intention is to distinguish its marriages from that of the other denominations, Pink News reports.

The bishop is asking the Vatican to allow the Church to stop performing civil weddings. He voiced out concerns about politicians who may make aggressive moves toward Churches who refuse to conform to gay weddings, Life Site News relays.

"It's clear we must distinguish our own Church marriages from others. This is a matter of liturgy, so it doesn't necessarily reflect broader change in our society's moral values," said Bishop Eidsvig. "But politicians may now get aggressive toward churches who resist these weddings, so the best option is for us to stop conducting marriages on the state's behalf," he added.

The bishop also expressed sorrow and disappointment at the Lutheran Church's intention to perform same-sex marriages.

Bishop Eidsvig is not the only religious leader who spoke out against same-sex marriage. The Catholic Herald reports that three Protestant leaders and Norway have also rejected the ceremony, saying it violates the Christian, historic, and universal concept of marriage. They explained that they aim to protect Churches from being pressured into performing gay weddings by separating the civil from religious ceremonies.

Meanwhile, the Church of Norway is expected to release a motion that would permit gay couples to wed in its Churches in the country. While the Church initially rejected a proposal to perform equal marriage in 2014, majority of its leaders are now in favor of it.

Norway has legalized same-sex marriage in 2009. The Church of Norway permits the ordination of gay ministers.

Although the Lutheran Church has approved same-sex marriage, it will also allow its ministers to refuse performing such ceremonies.

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