• 73 percent of the country's 5.2 million residents are members of the Church of Norway (Getty)Source: Getty
The Evangelical-Lutheran church has developed a new liturgy with gender neutral terms.
Michaela Morgan

31 Jan 2017 - 1:31 PM  UPDATED 31 Jan 2017 - 1:31 PM

Same-sex couples in Norway will now be able to have a religious wedding in a church after a new rule was passed today.

Over 80% of The Church of Norway’s general synod voted in favour of the measure in Trondheim this week, after being unable to reach a decision at the church’s conference last year.

The new liturgy will also change the traditional text to gender neutral terms, omitting the words ‘bride’ and ‘groom’.

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Gard Sandaker-Nilsen is the leader of a movement within the church that campaigned for the change called ‘Open Public Church’.

When the decision was passed he said: “This is the day when a prayer and a dream have been fulfilled”. 

Although the new ruling will allow same-sex couples to wed in the church, gay marriage has been legal since 2009. Norway was also the second country in the world to allow civil partnerships in 1993. 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church is a “community characterised by equality, participation and diversity,” according to their website.

While the new liturgical order will go into effect on Wednesday, the original liturgy will remain.

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Priests at the Church of Norway will have the freedom to choose whether they will perform same-sex marriages or not and church employees will also have the option to not take part if they do not wish to.

But Sandaker-Nilsen says he hopes “that all churches in the world can be inspired by this new liturgy”.