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'Bride' and 'groom' removed from Church wedding liturgy

The gender-neutral text comes after the country's Lutheran Church voted on Monday to support new ceremonial language permitting pastors to hold same-sex marriages.

The decision follows the annual conference of the Church last April approval the principle of same-sex marriages, however, to exact wording was not agreed upon.

Gard Sandaker-Nilsen, leader of the Open Public Church, a group within the Lutheran Church which has supported the changes, was quoted by Reuters as saying: "I hope that all Churches in the world can be inspired by this new liturgy."

Norway's Lutheran Church is coming into line with several other mainstream Protestant denominations in other countries, including the US Presbyterian Church which has made constitutional changes to encompass same-sex marriage.

As of 2015, nearly three quarters of Norwegians belonged to the Lutheran Church, however, membership has gradually declined in recent years.

Moves to allow churches to conduct same-sex marriages have prompted concern that such a move ignores the traditional Biblical view that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

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