October 25, 2009

Church of Sweden Votes to Allow Gay Marriage

Coat of arms of the Church of Sweden.Image via Wikipedia

In spite of veiled threats by the Church of England about how it would harm relations, the Synod of the Lutheran Church of Sweden recently voted to approve church weddings for homosexual couples. Good for them! It is nice to see that some churches are actually willing to promote civil rights, even if the texts which they claim to be sacred are fairly clear about not doing so.

I agree with atheist and Swedish blogger, Jesper Isaksson (Jazzperous), that marriage should ultimately be separated from religion. To speak of marriage as a sacred covenant before some god may sound good, but it overlooks the simple fact that there is no evidence that any such gods exist. In our modern world, marriage is a legal matter. As Jesper writes,
The problem today is that marriage isn't only about religion and love - it's also about legal rights. A not married couple doesn't have the same rights and isn't equal in front of the law as married couples. This is what needs to be changed. In a secular country like Sweden, few couples get married "religiously" anyway even if they marry in church and by a priest. It's tradition and a romantic goal for many of us to achieve. It is time to leave the idea of marriage being a religous (sic) ritual behind and instead let it be what it is to many of us anyway: an act of love and law.
What religion has done to many in the LGBT community is indeed tragic. The Christian bible is undoubtedly anti-gay, and yet, many cling to a religion in which they have no place. I admire the progress the gay community has made in forcing some churches to evolve when it comes to human rights, but I would hope that more would turn their backs on the ancient superstition that remains the primary obstacle to their equality.

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