DENMARK: Parliament forces State (Lutheran) church to have same-sex “marriages”

“Oh no!”, they rush to exclaim, “We’re all about freedom! Freedom for you and for me and for… everyone!  Even Catholics!  We’ll never force you to marry homosexuals.”

First, never accept the premise that the same-sex “marriage” issue is a matter of civil rights.  It. Is. Not.  In the same way that feminists have gotten everyone to believe abortion is a “women’s issue”, (It. Is. Not.), homsexualists have gotten everyone to believe same-sex “marriage” is a civil-rights issue.

This from The Telegraph:

Gay Danish couples win right to marry in church [a Lutheran church, btw … the state church of Denmark]
Homosexual couples in Denmark have won the right to get married in any church they choose, even though nearly one third of the country’s priests have said they will refuse to carry out the ceremonies. [Remember, Danish Lutherans don’t have priests, whatever they call them.]

The country’s parliament voted through the new law on same-sex marriage by a large majority, making it mandatory for all churches to conduct gay marriages.
Denmark’s church minister, Manu Sareen, called the vote “historic”. [That’s code for “really stupid”.]
“I think it’s very important to give all members of the church the possibility to get married. [So the State will force the State church.  That’s what happens when you have State church.] Today, it’s only heterosexual couples.”
Under the law, individual priests can refuse to carry out the ceremony, but the local bishop must arrange a replacement for their church.  [Get that?]
The far-Right Danish People’s Party mounted a strong campaign against the new law, which nonetheless passed with the support of 85 of the country’s 111 MPs.

“Marriage is as old as man himself, and you can’t change something as fundamental,” the party’s church spokesperson Christian Langballe said during the debate. “Marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman.”
Karsten Nissen, the [Lutheran] Bishop of [the Danish National Church’s diocese of] Viborg, who is refusing to carry out the ceremonies, has warned that the new law risks “splitting the church”.


It’s only a matter of time.

In the meantime… “Let it soak.”

Now for a tepid bowl of Øllebrød.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Fr. Bryan says:

    Saw this earlier through the link on Pewsitter. This is appalling news, and I believe, unfortunately, this will be cited as a precedent in most every other western country as the example to adopt. How incredibly evil. Fr. Z, you are right, it is only a matter of time. Perhaps the insight of Cardinal George was correct when he said he would die in his bed, his successor would die in prison, and his successor would be martyred.

  2. NBW says:

    Very sad news. I think Fr. Bryan has a very good point about every other western country using Denmark as the example to adopt.

  3. Gerard Plourde says:

    “this will be cited as a precedent in most every other western country as the example to adopt”

    The important distinction for the United States is contained in the headline: Parliament forces State (Lutheran) church to have same-sex “marriages”. The Lutheran Church in Denmark, like the Church of England, is the state-sanctioned church, an arrangement that is forbidden under our Constitution.

  4. Winfield says:

    This story is from 2012, but profoundly disturbing all the same.

  5. Jackie L says:

    The left of course denies any interest whatsoever in forcing same-sex marriages upon churches, and immediately corrects any misunderstanding on this issue…for now.

    “Nobody is saying that a religious organization has to perform gay marriages. Nobody. Nobody.” – Chris Cuomo

  6. Fr. Bryan says:

    @Gerard — I certainly understand your point about the differences between Denmark and the USA, yet I do think that in the long run, the separation clause will likely not protect us, anymore than it protected some Catholic Institutions from the continuing attempt of having the HHS Contraceptive Mandate imposed upon them. I don’t think we can afford to rest in the face of this tsunami hurtling toward the Church and the Faithful, by relying on, and trusting the government to respect the separation clause in the Constitution.

  7. William Tighe says:

    The Church of Sweden (disestablished in 2000, but only after so arranging its structure and governance that liberals and secularists will control it) has done the same thing, and the Church of Norway and the Church of Finland are heading down the same path. Here is an e-mail which I sent around in April of this year about recent developments in the Church of Norway:

    My Comment: What is most farcical about events of this sort is exemplified by the comment of the State Church’s Bishop of Stavanger below. Does he have some sort of privileged telephone line to the Holy Spirit, so that he knows when a synodical vote is the fruit of “the Spirit,” and when it is “resisting” that same Spirit. Or, more likely, has he cast aside the true Holy Spirit in favor of its envious counterfeit, the Zeitgeist? (In that case, though, should he not admit that the Danes and the Swedes far excel the Norwegians in the promptitude of their devotion and zeal for the Zeitgeist?) Or perhaps he is simply an ignorant buffoon. WJT

    8 April 2014:

    The legislative assembly (Kirkemøtet) of the Church of Norway today again rejected proposals to introduce same-sex weddings and to introduce church ‘blessings’ of same-sex civil partnerships. The weddings proposal failed by a vote of 51 to 64, and the ‘blessings’ proposal failed by 54 to 62. However, a motion to affirm that marriage is between one man and one woman was also voted down by the same margin: 54 to 62. A fourth motion that would have recognized “two equal viewpoints” in the Church was also rejected.

    Norway legalized same-sex ‘partnerships’ in 1993 and adopted a “gender neutral marriage” law in 2008.

    “I think that within four years as the church will say yes to marrying gays,” says Stavanger Bishop Erling Pettersen. “Today we see that there has been a huge change in attitude in the church in recent years, and the new attitude will continue to grow.”

    Three of many articles (in Norwegian):

  8. SKAY says:

    The UN has a list of things it is pushing the Vatican to change about the teachings of the Church.
    SSM and abortion are on the list.

    Satanists seem to be on board with the UN by calling ss unions their sacrament.

  9. BLB Oregon says:

    “You have the Republican Party searching for identity; they are searching to define their soul. That is what is going on…. …..We don’t agree with gay marriage, we are anti-gay”, that is fine but 70% of this state about, is now pro-gay marriage so figure out who you are and figure out if you are of a extreme conservative philosophy and if you can survive in this state. And the answer is no..”
    –Mario Cuomo

    By way of clarification, the governor’s office said, ” it is clear that the Governor was making the observation that an extreme right candidate cannot win statewide because this is a politically moderate state .”

    In other words, anyone who does not believe in gay marriage ought to resign themselves to political impotence. If you are going to “define your soul” in a way that cannot reconcile itself with same-sex “marriage,” then resign yourself to vilification, to becoming a legal non-entity, because the rest of society is telling you loudly that “that is not who we are.” You’re going to be going it in small company, and a company held in contempt.

  10. Andrew says:

    Time for Danicorum coetibus?

  11. Cafea Fruor says:

    “I think it’s very important to give all members of the church the possibility to get married.”

    SMH. They already DO have the possibility to get married. To people of the opposite gender.

    We have here before us a whole stinking, wriggling, writhing can o’worms. So anyone should be able to get married to anyone? What if two priests want to get married? Or two pre-teens? Or a priest and a nun? Or two nuns? Or three people? Or seven people? Or a minister and a boy in the choir? Or a nun and a married man? All these people are members of the church, so why shouldn’t they be able to get married if they wuv each other? *riddled with sarcasm*

  12. The Sicilian Woman says:


    Our protections as Catholics, as U.S. citizens, are no safer than Mario’s Cuomo’s words were directed (only) at Republican candidates. We are not, and they weren’t. It’s awful to think of the persecution that’s coming, but don’t be fooled, at all, that it isn’t coming. The Constitution is as strong only as it is upheld by the Supreme Court, which it hasn’t been.

  13. Giuseppe says:

    Wait. Is the Danish government requiring that Danish Roman Catholic priests to marry same-sex couples in a Roman Catholic ceremony? Or just ministers in the Danish state church? If the former, this is astonishing. If the latter, this rivals ‘dog bites man’ in interest. Why wouldn’t a government be able to establish rules for a church it established?

    I am grateful that the United States constitution forbids Congress from establishing a religion.

    Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  14. greg3064 says:

    There are already liberal legal theorists figuring out how to argue that the First Amendment does not protect religions specifically. Look up people like Dworkin and Leiter if you have any doubt.

    As The Sicilian Woman says, the Constitution is only as strong as the Supreme Court’s interpretation of it. This is why I really can’t consider myself a patriot. The United States could stand on some common principles while it was a predominantly Christian nation, but now that it is not, there are mechanisms in place to reinterpret anything. (I would say reinterpret anything according to the will of the majority, but even when the majority agrees with the status quo, an activist judge can swoop in.)

    Regarding forcing churches to perform same-sex “marriages,” one of Ed Feser’s blog posts is eminently appropriate.

  15. Mike says:

    Irrespective of the date of the story, judging by what’s now going on in Colorado and elsewhere, it behooves us to prepare to be imprisoned for conscientious objection to the agenda of PC re-definition and re-education.

    Holy Spirit, grant us Your gift of fortitude, we humbly pray.
    Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us!

  16. PA mom says:

    Andrew is spot-on!

    And, since this really makes every one of their bishops participate in this, I would start the exploratory phone calls there.

  17. Charles E Flynn says:

    Contraception, Rights, and Total State Control
    , by James V. Schall, S.J.
    June 8, 2014
    Charles E. Rice’s new book argues that once absolute relativism is established as the state “religion” there is no limit to what the state can and will do

  18. Cantor says:

    The simple solution in the United States is for Catholic priests to surrender their licenses to perform civil weddings. That does nothing to prevent them from performing canonical weddings. It would serve to partition the two and make it clear what the true purpose of marriage is in the Church. Obviously the Church wedding should come first and leave the civil details for later.

    Unfortunately, there is precedent — in the Soviet Union where couples would exchange their vows both at the city hall and then at the offices of the Communist Party.

  19. Johnno says:

    Ah yes, another one for the ‘Will never-ever-happen’ files…

    Any of you sighing in relief in the U.S. over Constitutional protections obviously haven’t been paying any attention to the fact that your commanders-in-chief haven’t cared about the Constitution in years. After all, it’s all about how one interprets the constitution! As they did for the Bible & Vatican II, so the Constitutional-Protestants have been doing to the documents written by American men.

    And for everything I’ve seen, the leaders of the Church in North America are more than happy to surrender to the State for an undefined interim awaiting the decision of secular judges to tell them what is moral, but for now they shall gladly co-operate with evil.

  20. danube-bosphorus-moskva says:

    Political correctness and radical egalitarianism is Scandinavian contribution in field of totalitarian regimes.
    After all, Sweden has “archbishop”, German female, not ready to accept Jesus as superior to Mohammed, has gender neutral kindergarten… Denmark has lot to do in order to keep a track with their Swedish cousins.
    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us.

  21. Gerard Plourde says:

    @Fr. Bryan –

    I understand your concern and one should never preclude any possibility. That said, the underlying legal concepts of the HHS issue and that of officiating at a same-sex marriage are different and not interchangeable. In the HHS issue, the Church is seen as an employer (not as a religious group acting in the realm of its beliefs since not all of its employees are members of the Church). As such it would be subject to the same rules as all employers, (unless the Hobby Lobby case expands the religious exception set forth by the Supreme Court in 2012 in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & Sch. v. E.E.O.C which would strengthen religious protection). Conversely, any attempt by the state to dictate the beliefs and rites a religious group is clearly violative of the First Amendment.

  22. Phil_NL says:


    I agree. By the way, there is much more precedent, it isn’t any different in the Netherlands (and has been for ages), and I think a good number of other countries that had a serious dose of Napoleonic law, but no established church. In fact, civil law requires the civil wedding to be done first, as it is a crime to conduct a religious wedding if the parties aren’t civilly married. (not that it is seriously enforced among the more troublesome parts of the muslim population)

  23. Vecchio di Londra says:

    In Britain, the current position with the Church of England is that it was exempted by an (unheralded and unexplained) Act of Parliament that bans it from carrying out any homosexual marriages. Whether this will be immune to challenges at the European Court of Human Rights remains to be seen. I hope so, not only for the sake of the generally morally conservative churchgoing Anglicans (most of whom regard homo-marriage with horror), but because the de facto independence of the C of E stands like a legal firewall between the state and the Catholic Church.

    Constitutionally, a government should (theoretically) have only limited control over a ‘state religion’, since the government of the day is not the state. Constitutions differ, of course.
    In Britain for example (where we have a hazily unwritten status quo), the Queen as the Head of the Church has the last word on the C of E, not her government.

    The Danish state religion made itself mortally vulnerable by allowing itself to be funded by taxes – an awful warning for Catholics in Germany, where politicians feel entitled to sound off about the Catholic Church whenever the electoral polls prompt them to do so. The bishops seem so far tone-deaf to their precarious legal position: I fear they will eventually learn the hard way.

    And as others have pointed out, aggressive judicial activism has now clambered up to the highest courts in every land – that wave of determined left-wing lawyers who stormed the gates in the 1960s and 1970s have altered the legal culture irrevocably.

  24. danube-bosphorus-moskva says:

    Unfortunately, there is precedent — in the Soviet Union where couples would exchange their vows both at the city hall and then at the offices of the Communist Party.

    I think you bit misunderstood it. It had to be conducted (their favourit phrase, conducting or better translated, concuding Marriage) in City hall, or township cancelary, by special offical which was responsable for issuing birth and death certificates, concluding marriages and issuing marriage certificates on request of citizens, but there was no fromal wedding in Party premisses. Party and State were not sepaated. In fact, Party chairman was superior to elected officlas, party members. Party had its own comissioners in army in factories etc etc. Hard to explain to people who did not live under such regime. Faithfull were forced to exchange vows before priest, offten in secrecy. Even when there was no major consequences for religious wedding, it had to be held after civil one. At least that was situation in Yugoslavia. Today, we in post-Communist europe, have similar situation (And in countires where is Napoleonic code in force, simtuation is similar). Couple have two ceremonies, civil beofre state official, and religious in front of priest. That was case with my marriage too.

  25. StephenGolay says:

    But we don’t have a State Church, here in America. Sure about that? It never needs to be so designated. All that’s needed is for the public – that for the “common good” – function of religious (tax-exem0pt!) institutions to be suborned under the “universal” reach of Civil Right Legislation. In addition, to assist, the State can whistle for the dogs penned up by Domestic Anti-Terrorism administrative law. To set those dogs sniffing on the hunt, A.G. Holder, a few days ago, did just that when he reinflated a morbid committee (with enforcement powers) to monitor and act against Domestic [Thought Crime] Terrorism .

    How far are we from giving “thought crimes” legal standing? Will the State refrain itself from charging the Church with “thought – that is, doctrinal – crimes”?

  26. StJude says:

    The way the US will do this is to add Gays to protected classes. … then it will be discrimination to deny a same sex marriage.
    Look at the language the gay mafia is using now…. ‘hate’… ‘discrimination’..’equal rights’…
    Its coming here, folks.

  27. LarryW2LJ says:

    Since the beginning of the drive for “gay marriage”, I have insisted that the Church will be forced into complying, sooner rather than later. Of course, I have been laughed at and have been ridiculed for that belief. But it will happen.

    And if the Church refuses to comply, then its “tax exempt” status will be revoked by the Federal Government, and the IRS will be used to tax the edifice into oblivion. The Church itself will survive, but will probably have to go underground – a return to our roots.

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