Oslo bishop will refuse to marry same-sex couples

Oslo’s newest bishop has revealed that he would refuse to wed gay or lesbian couples should the situation arise.

Per Arne Dahl, one of the Norwegian capital’s 12 bishops, had previously declined the opportunity to give his opinion on the subject but on Monday – the same day it became known he would ordain lesbian pastor Hanne Marie Pedersen-Eriksen – he announced that he would not perform same-sex marriages.

Dahl explained that he believed marriage was for a relationship between a man and a woman; however, he said that he wanted to help same-sex couples enjoy a “worthy” service if they marry outside the church, adding that they would receive the church’s blessing.

He went on to say that people in the church had two views on the matter, but that he did not want such conflicting opinions to result in a division.

In response to Dahl’s comments, Torbjorn Steen-Karlsen, head of Norway’s national organisation representing the gay, lesbian and transgender community LLH, admitted that he was “very disappointed”. He said that he mistakenly believed Dahl was a man of the future, and insisted such comments were not worthy of the church in this day and age.

Dahl is a renowned figure in Norway, having made a number of TV and radio appearances; he has also written numerous books.