Anglicans Snub Lesbian Bishop’s Ordination

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday November 4, 2009

English and Irish Anglican bishops are refusing to attend the ordination of one of a Lutheran fellow cleric in Stockholm--because she is a lesbian.

Eva Brunne is slated to be ordained as the Church of Sweden's new Stockholm bishop, reported English language Swedish news site The Local on Nov. 4

Relations between the Church of Sweden and the Anglican church have been strained since the Church of Sweden approved new church policy that officially grants gay and lesbian couples the right to enjoy church blessings.

The new policy originated in June with a petition from the governing board of the Church of Sweden, and was approved by the Lutheran Synod on Oct. 22, with a majority 176 votes out of the 249 voting members. The vote took place just three days after the thirtieth anniversary of the removal of homosexuality from the list of pathologies in Sweden.

The decision also follows in the wake of marriage equality being granted to gay and lesbian Swedish families by the Swedish government. The new law took effect last May.

Swedish GLBT leader Åsa Regnér, who heads the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, said of the vote, "The Synod's decision takes a stance in favor of an inclusive view of people. Regardless of whether one is religious or not, this affects the entire social climate and the view of people's equal value."

Pastors opposed to performing marriages for same-sex couples may opt out of performing the blessing.

The Lutheran church had come under pressure by the Church of England not to approve the measure, with a letter from two Church of England bishops warning that granting equal marriage status to faithful gay and lesbian families might lead to "an impairment of the relationships between the churches."

The Local quoted Bishop Alan Harper of Armagh, Northern Ireland, as saying, "The Anglican Church has a moratorium right now concerning the ordination of bishops who live together with someone of the same sex."

The article noted that the ordination was announced less than a month after marriage equality became legal in Sweden last May. Brunne's lfie partner is also a cleric; Gunilla Lindén is a pastor in the Church of Sweden.

The article noted that other churches had declined to send clerics to the ordination, set to take place Nov. 8, including the churches of Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, and Lithuania, but that the event would be attended by clerics from the churches of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, South Africa, and the Phillippines.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.