Danish PM favours religious weddings for gays, but says church must decide

January 13, 2004

Denmark's Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the EU summit 13 December 2003 in Brussels (AFP/ Gerard Cerles)
COPENHAGEN — Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the weekend he was personally in favour of religious weddings for homosexual couples but it was for church leaders to decide.

A member of the Evangelical-Lutheran state church, like 85 percent of Denmark's 5.37 million people, Rasmussen told the weekly Soendagsavisen: "I find it hard to believe that God would be harder on homosexuals and lesbians than on other people."

"(But) politicians should not interfere in the internal life of the church and should leave ritual in the hands of pasters and parish councillors," he said.

On October 1, 1985, Denmark became the first country to legalise civil weddings between gay couples but gays have since then unsuccessfully sought the right also to marry in church.

Many pasters who favour changing church law have officiated at private gay weddings.

Rasmussen stressed that his opinions on the matter were personal but acknowledged it was difficult "to draw a line" between his official views as prime minister and his private views. –Sapa-AFP

Related links stories
Denmark first country to legalise gay marriages [09/10/1998]



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