Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has announced that he intends to force all priests in the Swedish church to marry same-sex couples even if they disagree with gay marriage.
The Swedish Prime Minister made his view clear in a recent interview saying, “no priest in the Swedish Church can refuse to marry same-sex couples.” Mr Lofven argued that it did not matter what the view of the individual priests was and even supports a motion to only allow priests who agree with same-sex marriage the opportunity to be ordained SVT reports.
“If you work as a midwife must be able to perform abortions, otherwise you have to do something else. It is the same for priests who do not want to perform same-sex marriages,” Lofven said.
Recently the Swedish church, which is the state church in Sweden and has a form of parliament with elected officials, committed to performing same-sex marriages.
Though the synod had made the pledge, it did not require individual priests to carry out the weddings if they did not personally want to. The church currently allows priests to refuse to perform weddings, baptisms, and funerals for any reason.
The Swedish Prime Minister wants that commitment to include individual priests and says that his party, the ruling Social Democratic Party, agrees with him.
Sweden legalised gay marriage in 2009 but the legislation did not compel clergy of individual faiths to perform same-sex marriages.
The Swedish church is known throughout the globe as one of the most left-wing progressive churches in the world. The churches stance on many issues has raised eyebrows from many outsiders.
One incident involving the lesbian Bishop of Stockholm Eva Brunne caused a large controversy when she announced that she would be taking down crosses in churches in order to give Muslims a place to pray instead.
Other members of the church have also been criticised for their statements including priests Peter Englund and Helena Myrstener who said that Swedes should stop celebrating their “poisonous” national holiday.
The pair, who come from the heavily migrant-populated city of Malmo in southern Sweden, argued, “Patriotism has its roots in the patriarchal thinking that celebrates traditional masculinity as strength, competition, inequality, and reduces men to soldiers, and women to mothers. It goes without saying that this does not create good conditions for a world without borders.”
Later this year the General Synod of the Church will have elections in which the anti-mass migration populist Sweden Democrats (SD) will field candidates. Sweden will also have a national election in 2018 and recent YouGov polling shows the SD as the largest and most popular party in the country.