Bishop of Iceland issues overdue apology to gay people for church’s ignorance on same-sex marriage

The Bishop of Iceland has apologised to the gay and lesbian community for discrimination against same-sex marriage by the country’s National Church.

Agnes Sigurðardóttir, who took office as the Bishop of Iceland in 2012, made the apology on the Icelandic talk show Kastljós on Tuesday, October 29, in response to questions about her predecessor Karl Sigurbjörnsson.

Same-sex unions were legally recognised in Iceland in 1996, but Karl led the National Church to strongly oppose a bill in 2006 which would allow pastors bless same-sex partnerships.

He said at the time: “I think we owe it to [the institution of] marriage to not toss it on the garbage heap without considering what we’re doing.”

He received a huge amount of backlash for his comments and the bill was eventually passed. Same-sex marriage was legalised in Iceland in 2010.

According to the Iceland Review, Agnes was asked by the talk show host whether gay people deserved an apology from the church for Karl’s stance on homosexuality.

She responded: “I can definitely apologise to people for the church acting this way and hurting people and having caused them both pain and trouble and difficulty. I’m keen to apologise for that.”

LGBT+ activists in Iceland were pleased about the apology, but said Agnes could have done more to recognise other members of the LGBT+ community affected by the church’s actions.

Þorbjörg Þorvaldsdóttir, chairperson of the National Queer Organisation, wrote on Facebook: “Well done on her part, the time had come.

“But I also point out that a large portion of those who suffered from the church’s reaction were bisexual and pansexual people. We deserve to be included when our legal rights are discussed.”

Agnes is much more inclusive of the LGBT+ community than Karl was, and according to Gay Iceland when she took her position as bishop she said: “According to the laws of this country priests can marry gay couples. If I were asked to do so I would of course tie the knot. Gay people aren’t any different from the rest of us.”

by Lily Wakefield
Source – PinkNews