April 12, 2010
Report: Complaints of Gay Discrimination in Finnish Lutheran Church
Openly gay members the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) are complaining of discrimination, according to Helsingin Sanomat.
The issue was raised by the chairman of an organization that promotes the cause of Christians who are members of sexual minorities, a third of whom (about 200) are employed by the Lutheran Church.
More than 80 percent of Finnish citizens belong to the ELCF, whose 12 bishops decided in February to recommend against instituting any formula for a church blessing on same-sex unions. In May, the bishops plan to propose a resolution to the Synod that would authorize prayers for couples in same-sex unions, according to the news report. The chairman predicts that several people will leave the church if the Synod decides to ban even holding prayers for same-sex couples.
In 2007, a district court prosecutor charged and convicted a pastor with criminal discrimination for refusing to work with a female pastor. Observers wondered whether the case would set a precedent for similar cases concerning discrimination against homosexuals. Finland's laws prohibit any discrimination either in the workplace or in public based on factors like sex, race, religion, and sexual orientation.