Norwegian court maintains Jehovah's Witnesses’ ban on sealing marriage


Northern Europe


Wedding at a 'kingdom hall' of Jehovah's Witnesses. Photo Facebook, Jehovah's Witnesses Examiner

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Norway will not get a temporary license to perform marriages. They lost this right last year, and two courts already refused their appeal.

The Norwegian Jehovah's Witnesses have been engaged in court cases for about a year already. Last year, the Norwegian authorities ruled that the community would lose all its state subsidies, its registration as a religious community and the right to seal marriages. That is reported by Vart Land. The reason for the measures is the exclusionary practice of the Witnesses for someone who leaves the community.

However, as the Jehovah's Witnesses disagree with this decision, they have started a legal battle. Next January, the Oslo court will look at the case.


In December, the Jehovah's Witnesses succeeded in getting a temporary license to seal marriages. However, the state successfully appealed this decision and the license was withdrawn again, Dagen reports.

Now, the Witnesses want to get a temporary registration as a religious community so they can seal marriages, at least until January. Until now, their request has been refused, first by the Oslo District Court and now by the Borgarting Court of Appeal.

Furthermore, the community has to pay about 16,000 NOK (almost 1,500 euros) for legal expenses.

Religious freedom

Fabian Fond, who is the spokesman for the Jehovah's Witnesses, says to be disappointed with the ruling of the court. "The Norwegian authorities' attempt to deregister Jehovah's Witnesses as a religious community is a litmus test for the protection of religious freedom in Norway." He says to be confident that the judge will restore the rights of the community in January when the case will be considered.



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