Denmark has passed a law requiring the state Lutheran church to hold church weddings for gay couples. It allows pastors who don’t believe in gay marriage–from one-third to one-half of the clergy–to opt out, but bishops must provide a replacement pastor to preside over the wedding.
It isn’t clear to me from the news stories how this will affect other church bodies than the state church. Reuters says, “The new law permits homosexual marriages in the Evangelical Lutheran Church as well as churches of other faiths, depending on those churches’ own rules.” So are Roman Catholics, who have “rules” against this sort of thing, excused? Or must they allow gays to use their facilities for church weddings, though they are not obliged to perform the ceremony?
Still, this shows that the assurance that churches won’t be forced to perform gay weddings, should gay marriage be legalized, may well last only as long as the government wants it to.
Is it realistic to think that once gay marriage becomes the law that churches who don’t go along won’t eventually be targeted as discriminatory and forced to go along? Or is this simply the jeopardy of a state church, with American traditions of religious freedom able to resist that kind of legal mandate?