Magazine article The Christian Century

Decision on Gay Priest Sparks Revolt in Norway

Magazine article The Christian Century

Decision on Gay Priest Sparks Revolt in Norway

Article excerpt

The only woman bishop in Norway's state Lutheran church has sparked a revolt in her diocese with the appointment of an openly lesbian clergywoman to a diocesan post. At least 27 of the 120 clergy in Bishop Rosamarie Koehn's jurisdiction said recently that they could no longer accept her spiritual guidance because of her decision to allow Siri Sunde to return to work at a parish in the diocese.

Koehn, a bishop since 1993, ordained the 40-year-old Sunde in 1996, and at the time the priest declared that she had no plans to enter a same-sex marriage with her lesbian partner. In Norway, gay marriages are legal and couples have `all the rights of heterosexual marriages except the right to church weddings and the fight to adopt.

Under a 1997 ruling, which Koehn voted for, the Norwegian church allows only heterosexual marriages for its priests, and gays and lesbian clergy such as Sunde who openly live with their lovers are relegated to bureaucratic jobs that do not involve performing such rites as baptisms, marriages and funerals. …

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