Church of Sweden gay priest, Lars Gårdfeldt, has said he will no longer marry heterosexual couples to protest against a rule that allows all clergy within the church to refuse to marry same-sex couples when there is conscientious objection.
Currently, the Church of Sweden says no priest should be “forced” to officiate a same-sex couple wedding ceremony although a substitute should be found if that is the case.
Speaking to local news outlet, Sverige Radio, Gårdfeldt said the same rules should also apply the other way around, meaning gay priests should be able to refuse to marry opposite-sex couples.
“I want to show the absurdity, theologically and ethically reprehensible, of denying marriage to consenting adults. I want to turn the debate right,“ he said.
Gårdfeldt, who leads the Carl Johan Parish in the Diocese of Gothenburg, argued that “all love is holy” and “new priests must be able consume same-sex couples”.
“We should not recruit new anti-gay priests. We should not ordain new priests who pass on the idea that homosexuals are inferior people,” he continued.
The Church of Sweden, which is an Evangelical Lutheran church, voted to marry same-sex couples in 2009 and is known for being one of the most progressive in the world.
It appointed the first lesbian bishop in the world and the first bishop of the Church of Sweden to be in a registered same-sex partnership.
Asked by Swedish newspaper Expressen, Torgny Lindén, the Press Secretary of the Diocese of Gothenburg said: “We have freedom of expression in this country. Lars Gårdfeldt has entered the debate and said this. We have no opinion on this.”
The Church of Sweden has been contacted for comment.