On July 2, 2008, Katrín Þóra Víðisdóttir and Erla Björk Pálmadóttir became the first same-sex couple to be officially blessed by an Icelandic church, at Melstaðarkirkja in Miðfjörður. Víðisdóttir said it felt “very good to lead the path” and shared the details of their nuptial celebration with the Grapevine:
How does it feel for you to finally make your vows official in a church?
It feels very good to be finally accepted in the church just as everyone else. Now the fact of being gay doesn’t make you any less of a person than if you are straight. We don’t have the same law [as straight couples], but the law we have is just as good. There are, of course, things to fix and make better, make new words for a couple of things and then it will be perfect. In Icelandic, the words we use for wedding, husband and wife [et al] does not feel right. And even though we are married, my wife won’t get any of our stuff like furniture, the house, car and so on if it is on my name as I have no papers that say that she is the rightful owner after I die. They will have to fix this. But of course, we will live happily ever after!
How long did you have to wait for this to happen?
Actually, we didn’t have to wait very long, just about four days. Of course, we have been waiting for this for a very long time but we had no idea that this would come anytime soon, so we had just made plans to get married in the [District Commissioner]’s office. Just the two of us were going, and of course, our sisters, because they were our witnesses to get married. Our plan was to go there the morning of our wedding day, and then we were going to drive north when the legal stuff was out of the way and there we were going to have good wishes in the church with our family and friends afterwards, dinner, drinks and fun for everyone.
The priest, Sigurður Grétar Sigurðsson, then phoned us a few days before the special day and told us that the new law was at last here. We could do the whole thing in the church! We were, of course, very happy with this. So the plan changed a little but it was no problem. We didn’t have to change anything but just cancel the [appointment with the District Commissioner]. But we had no idea that we were going to be the first gay couple to get married in a church. That was just a happy surprise!
What do you feel is the historical significance of this?
The historical significance of this is that, finally, gay people are accepted by the church. It means that now people are accepting us just the way we are. They are accepting the fact that we have feelings too, and we can love just as much as everyone else. And there’s nothing wrong about it. We are people too and should have all the same rights as every other person in the world. Happily ever after, you know?
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