Swedish parliament takes steps towards gay marriages
March 03, 2004
STOCKHOLM — The Swedish parliament's laws committee is considering three
motions that would pave the way for gay marriages, replacing a
current law on same-sex civil unions that already gives gays the
same rights as married couples, officials said Tuesday.
Gay couples in Sweden have since 1995 enjoyed the same rights as
heterosexual couples. While the public commonly refers to gay
unions as "marriages", they are in the eyes of the law officially
The three motions currently under consideration all propose a
change in the marriage law to make it "gender neutral", eliminating
the last distinction between the two kinds of unions after gays
were in February 2003 granted the right to adopt children, Marianne
Mostroem, a spokeswoman for the parliament, told AFP.
"The laws committee began its work today. A first review is to
be submitted on March 9, and the debate in parliament is scheduled
for April 28," she said.
Sweden's gay community has long fought for the right to call
their civil unions "real" marriages.
"We are convinced that many people think that the time has come
for one law that defines a deep relationship between two
individuals and that this is important regardless of the gender of
the people," the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Rights (RFSL) said.
Among the political parties represented in parliament, the
Greens, the formerly communist Left party, the Liberals and the
Center – which together hold 117 of 349 seats in parliament –
have said they are in favour of a gender-neutral marriage law.
The governing Social Democrats, who hold 144 seats, have yet to
take an official stand on the issue, but two of the three motions
submitted are signed by seven of their MPs.
The conservative Moderate party, with 55 seats, has also yet to
take a stand.
Meanwhile, the Christian Democrats, who hold 33 seats, are
vehemently opposed to a new law. A fourth motion submitted by two
Christian Democratic MPs and one Moderate MP calls for the marriage
law to be amended to stipulate that marriage is a union "between a
man and a woman – for the sake of children".
According to a poll published on Monday, 61 percent of Swedes
are in favour of gay marriage, compard to 30 percent who are
opposed to the idea. – Sapa-AFP
Most Swedes favor legalising gay marriage: poll [02/03/2004]