Denmark has announced that marriage equality will come to the country as of June 15 this year.

At a press conference, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt announced that gay couples would be allowed to marry in time for the European summer, the Copenhagen Post reports.

“We have looked at two laws that will provide the gay and lesbian community the opportunity to get married in the church and at city hall,” Thorning-Schmidt said.

“The administration and I firmly believe that this is a natural step to take in a modern society like Denmark.

“The law will go into effect on June 15, so already this summer we’ll see the first gays and lesbians getting married in Danish churches.”

The law will not force religious leaders to marry same-sex couples.

“It will be up to each priest whether he or she will perform gay marriages, but the government gives all members of the church the right to get married in church, whether they want to marry a person of the opposite or same sex,” she said.

Denmark now joins European countries including Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Portugal in allowing same-sex couples equal marriage rights.

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