The Church of Sweden has elected the world’s first lesbian Lutheran bishop in Stockholm. Eva Brunne won the post by 413 votes against 365 votes and will succeed Bishop Caroline Krook, who is to retire in November.

“I know what it is to be called into question,” the Rev. Brunne said in an article on the Church of Sweden’s website after her Tuesday election. “I am in the lucky situation that I have power and I can use it for the benefit of those who have no power.”

Brunne lives with priest Gunilla Linden in a civil partnership that has received a church blessing. They have a three-year-old son. “Once you have been baptized, no one can say you cannot be part of the Church because you are homo-, bi-, or transsexual,” Brunne said.

A gender-neutral marriage law in Sweden came into force on May 1st, meaning gay couples can now marry in the country in religious or civil ceremonies.

The Church of Sweden, which offers a special blessing for same-sex couples, has faced criticism from some other Lutheran churches, particularly those in African countries.

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