A synod of priests of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland – the state church – rejected a proposal to allow homosexual couples the right to marry within the church.
Vísir reports that 91 priests and theologists submitted the proposal at the Vídalínskirkja church in Garðabær. After much contention, the proposal was narrowly defeated.
Currently, homosexuals may have a civil union at government offices, and other religious bodies may allow gay marriage, but the state church has refused to move forward.
By default, everyone paying taxes in Iceland has a portion of their taxes given to the state church. In order to change this, you need to fill out a form at the Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs to divert this portion either to the religious organization of your choosing, or to the University of Iceland.
The issue of gay marriage is one of many points brought up in discussions of separation of church and state in Iceland. More recently, the money that would be saved if there were such a separation has also seen more prominence in the discussion.
The Church of Iceland has simultaneously maintained that Iceland is a Christian nation, citing that 79.1% of Icelanders are registered in the church, and that the church would not survive being separated from taxes. However, according to Statistics Iceland, this figure is down from 92.6% just ten years ago. Furthermore, 65% of Icelanders support the separation of church and state, according to figures from the Icelandic Humanist Society.
For more on Icelanders and religion, you can read their presentation here (Power Point).
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