The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Norway voted on Monday to allow same-sex couples to be married in church weddings.
The denomination — of which over 70 percent of Norway’s population affiliated themselves with in 2015 — has already allowed individual pastors to conduct same-sex weddings, but this was a vote to allow for a new liturgy, or service, during which same-sex weddings can take place.
The new decision also changes wording in the denomination’s text regarding marriage to take out words such as “bride” and “groom” to allow same-sex weddings.
However, pastors and church employees are allowed to not participate in the liturgy.
The decision was made with an 83 to 29 synod vote.
“I hope that all Churches in the world can be inspired by this new liturgy,” Gard Sandaker-Nilsen, leader of the Open Public Church within the Lutheran Church, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The decision also had its opponents. Rolf Magne Haukalid was quoted by the Christian Post as saying that “the disappointment, sorrow and uncertainty is great.”
“Disappointment and sadness because today we are introducing a doctrine that a unified diocese called heresy in 1997,” he went on. “This goes against the Bible and Jesus’s word on marriage.”