The governing synod of the state Church of Norway voted 50-34 on Nov. 16 to overturn a ban on gay clergy who are partnered.
But it still will be up to local bishops whether to hire such individuals. Six of the nation's 11 bishops are known to support the change.
All Norwegian citizens automatically are members of the Evangelical Lutheran state church unless they officially join another denomination. About 86 percent of the nation's 4.7 million residents belong to the church at present, though most don't attend services.