Finland's State Church to Sanction Prayer for Gay Marriages
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland's General Synod has approved, by a vote of 78-30, the creation of a prayer for registered same-sex partnerships.
"After years of debate, Finland's state church took a step towards accepting gay relationships with an announcement Friday it would create a "prayer moment" for registered partnerships. 'The proposal offers a positive opportunity to minister to church members who are sexual minorities,' the General Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church's highest administrative body, said in a statement. The General Synod must now draw up a formula for a prayer that walks a fine doctrinal line, observers said. Lutheran ministers will have the choice of performing the prayer with gay couples in a church, but it will not actually constitute a church's blessing of the union itself, synod spokesman Marko Kailasmaa told AFP...The vote can be seen as a concession of sorts to a groundswell of popular support within the church community for Christian gays, lesbians and bisexuals. 'A prayer moment is part of pastoral care ... It's not an official sacrament, but you can't say that a prayer is less important,' Kailasmaa said."
In October, the Church reportedly saw an exodus of tens of thousands of people over remarks it made at a gay rights panel on the Finnish Broadcasting Company.
In related news, here's Finland's "It Gets Better" video, if you missed it.