Katrín Thóra Vídisdóttir and Erla Björk Pálmadóttir will today become the first lesbian couple in Iceland to have their cohabitation validated in church, following a recent law amendment. It is debated whether such a validation can be defined as marriage.
“In my opinion it is a very appreciated development because many priests in the State Church have already organized ceremonies for many years where they pray for and bless gay coupes who have earlier had their cohabitation confirmed by state officials,” Rev. Sigurdur Grétar Sigurdsson in Hvammstangi, who will validate the cohabitation of Vídisdóttir and Pálmadóttir, told Morgunbladid.
The new laws, which took affect on June 27, state that religious associations can confirm the cohabitation of gay couples. The State Church agreed to the planned law amendment at a convention in fall 2007, but did not want to change the traditional definition of marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman.
Jörmundur Ingi Hansen, former high chieftain of Ásatrúarfélagid (a religious organization for those who believe in the pagan Icelandic/Nordic gods), has criticized the new laws for being too vague and not including marital rights such as heredity rights, although the validation of cohabitation by religious associations is generally referred to as marriage.
Click here to read more about his criticism.