Gay marriage for Denmark
Marriage equality advocates have welcomed the news that the Danish parliament has voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.
The marriage equality bill passed the parliament 85 votes to 24.
"Overwhelming support for marriage equality from the Danish Parliament shows the global momentum for reform continues to grow," Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Alex Greenwich, said.
"Australia risks being left behind if it doesn't move soon to give same-sex couples full equality."
Introducing the legislation earlier this year, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (pictured) said same-sex couples could be married either at the Town Hall or in the Church of Denmark if the priest was willing.
"It will be up to each priest whether he or she will perform gay marriages, but the government gives all members of the church the right to get married in church, whether they want to marry a person of the opposite or same sex," Thorning said.
Although some church leaders have opposed same-sex marriage, surveys have suggested as many as 70 per cent of Danish priests would be happy to officiate at a gay wedding.
Greenwich said the situation in Denmark would be the same in Australia, dismissing claims by the Australian Christian Lobby that religious celebrants would be forced to marry same-sex couples.
"Danish same-sex couples have been given the right to a church wedding but Danish religious celebrants have also been given the right not to celebrate such weddings if it is against their religious values," Greenwich said.
"The safeguards in Australia are very strong with proposed legislation providing religious celebrants with an exemption and a recent motion from Andrew Wilkie confirming this exemption being passed by the House of Representatives."
Denmark was the first country in the world to allow civil unions for same-sex couples in 1989, with couples subsequently given the right to receive a church blessing for their unions.