Get ready for the Christian Right to cry blue murder — Denmark has announced it will legalise same-sex marriage and will require the Danish National Church to perform them.
For years opponents of marriage equality have warned that churches might be forced to marry gay couples against their will, despite no jurisdiction in the world that has same-sex marriage having done so.
Now the bogeyman has a face!
“The first same-sex weddings will hopefully become reality in spring 2012,” Equality and Church Minister Manu Sareen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper last week.
“I look forward to the moment the first homosexual couple steps out of the church. I’ll be standing out there throwing rice.”
Except the bogeyman doesn’t.
What we are seeing here is a purely Scandinavian phenomenon and will not be replicated elsewhere in the world. Despite their reputation as secular paragons of progressiveness, most Scandinavian countries have official state religions, which are directly funded by the taxpayer.
Nearly 70 percent of Danes support the idea of same-sex marriage, and 80 percent of Danes are members of the Danish National Church — and when people’s taxes are paying for the church down the road, they tend to want it to reflect their own personal views on matters of faith.
Non-Danish National Church churches, mosques, temples and synagogues will not be affected by the law. Even Church of Denmark employees who disagree with same-sex marriage will be exempted from performing same-sex marriages, so the sky is not falling by any means if you are a conservative Christian in Denmark.
And although that relationship between church and state is troubling to Danes who are not members of the Danish National Church, for those who are, what they are getting is actually religious freedom in action.
A majority of Danish National Church members (a majority of whom support marriage equality) elected a Government that is allowing them to see their belief that same-sex couples are acceptable to be married put into practice.
Imagine how different things would be if the rank-and-file members of religious groups, rather than a clique of old men, got to vote on the position their church would take.
Look at the number of Catholic countries that have legalised same-sex marriage and tell me that the Vatican reflects the views of ordinary Catholics.