The Church of Norway has finally allowed same-sex couples to have religious weddings, and we have the pictures of the very first gay couple to tie the knot.
Kjell Frølich Benjaminsen, 63, and his partner Erik Skjelnæs, 70, spent decades waiting to get married in the church of their choice.
Now, the couple of 36 years officially became the first gay couple to be married in a church in Norway.
And they didn’t bother with waiting any longer.
‘We did not have a second to lose,’ Benjaminsen told VG.
‘Besides, there are so many who have been waiting for this all year, so it was great to be able to do it as a symbolic mark.’
On Wednesday (1 February), a minute after midnight, Benjaminsen and Skjelnæs tied the knot at the same time the church’s decision came into force.
Dressed in traditional Norwegian suits, called Bunads, they married in the church of Eidskog, a 6,000-people municipality 90 minutes outside Oslo.
Benjaminsen proposed 16 years ago, but his partner had one wish: to marry in a church.
So in December, when it became clear that a decision might be imminent, the couple started planning their wedding.
For the entire time, they were prepared for a last-minute cancellation.
‘There are a thousand things going around in your head now,’ Skjelnæs told VG.
‘There is much to be fixed quickly. Before 11 o’clock yesterday, we did not know for sure whether there would be a wedding.’
But in the end, it all worked out and the grooms were accompanied not just by friends and family, but also cameras who showed their big day to the world.
And besides finally being husband and husband, the couple – who both grew up Christian and never left the church – said they want to continue fighting for equality.
‘There are many paved the way through the ages who looked forward to this day, but that is now gone,’ Benjaminsen said.
‘Although we have not done that, we will now stand up and represent them in a way.’