Debate on polyamory in Church also sparked in Norway


Northern Europe


Photo AFP, Ronaldo Schemidt

In several Scandinavian countries, the debate on polyamory has been ongoing. Theologians discuss whether group marriage is reconcilable with the Christian faith. Now, also in Norway, Christians are confronted with the question.

Queer theologians argue that folk churches should allow polyamorous relationships. They see this form of cohabitation as the next step after arrangements for same-sex marriage have been introduced. That is reported by Dagen. In Sweden and Denmark, voices are raised to demand churches recognise polyamorous relationships and bless them.

Now, the debate has reached Norway as well. According to Norwegian law, only two people are allowed to get married. As long as the marriage remains valid, no third person can officially enter the relationship.

The Frimodig Kyrka, one of the electable parties in the church elections of the Church of Norway in 2023, sees no objections to polyamorous relationships as the Church has already let go of the heterosexual norm for marriage. “There is no obvious logical limitation to two people”, Sverre Elgvin Lied, leader of the party, wrote to Dagen in an e-mail. He does not think that there should be any fundamental difference in how the Church should treat people who live in polyamorous relationships and others. “As a church, we are called to convey the gospel of Jesus and make people disciples.”

“Polyamory not an option”

However, not all leaders of the Church of Norway favour recognising polyamorous relationships. The President of the Church, Olav Fykse Tveit, rejects the form of cohabitation. He says that Norwegian churchgoers are not interested in the topic. “On the contrary, there has been a lot of pressure for queers to be able to arrange their permanent relationships in marriage, which is an arrangement for monogamous lives”, he writes in an e-mail to Dagen.

Olav Fykse Tveit does not see polyamory as the logical follow-up in the development of cohabitation ethics. He argues that the Church should help people to live in “faithful, orderly relationships, with responsibility for stability and an orderly framework for everyone.” He says that every individual is responsible for his or her life, but also that that is the reason why the Church should “point to the monogamous relationship and marriage as the best form of cohabitation.”

Furthermore, Åpen Folkekirke, another electable party in the church elections, does not aim to change the ecclesiastical policy on marriage. That is reported by Dagen. In 2015, the party was able to pass church legislation that allowed same-sex marriage. However, party leader Gard Sandaker-Nielsen now clarifies that the “Church of Norway believes that marriage is for two people” and that it is not something they want to change.

Sex as an idol

Many Christians overestimate the importance of sexuality. That is the opinion of David Bennett, a homosexual Norwegian who lives a voluntary celibate life. “They have often elevated marriage to become an idol.”

In an interview with Dagen, he refers to a speech by an American pastor who said that sex is the deepest form of intimacy that one can experience. He finds this view problematic because it does not consider the relationship with God. “There is no sex in heaven. Still, heaven will be much better. What does that mean? Maybe we should not focus so much on sex.”

As a gay person, Bennett is still convinced that marriage is for one man and one woman because it is founded in the creation account in Genesis. “Gay marriage is not wrong because it is less good. They can be just as good as heterosexual marriages. They are wrong because they go against the order of creation.”



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.