LGBT rights in Denmark

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LGBT rights in Denmark
Location of  Denmark  (dark green)– in Europe  (light green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (light green)  –  [Legend]
Location of  Denmark  (dark green)

– in Europe  (light green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (light green)  –  [Legend]

Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1933,
age of consent equalized in 1977
Gender identity/expression Transsexual persons allowed to change legal gender without a diagnosis, hormone therapy, surgery or sterilization
Military service Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
Same-sex marriage since 2012
Adoption Full adoption rights since 2010
Copenhagen Pride 2008

The rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Denmark are extensive and a high priority.

Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1933, and since 1977, the age of consent is 15, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.[1] Denmark was the first country in the world to grant legal recognition to same-sex unions, in the form of "registered partnerships", in 1989. On 7 June 2012, the law was replaced by a new same-sex marriage law, which came into effect on 15 June 2012.[2]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

Same-sex marriage became legal in Denmark on 15 June 2012, after the Danish parliament voted on 7 June in favour of gender-neutral marriage, including marriages in the Church of Denmark.[2][3] Formerly, Denmark had recognised civil unions (registreret partnerskab) since 1989 — the first country to do so.

A December 2006 European Union member poll showed Danish support for same-sex marriage at 69 percent.[4] Angus Reid Global Monitor conducted the poll for issues regarding European Union integration. With the attitudes in Europe regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage, Denmark proved to be high on the list of possible nations that would grant marriage to gay and lesbian citizens, in third place behind The Netherlands (82 percent) and Sweden (71 percent).

The Danish government proposed marriage equality legislation in parliament on 14 March 2012. Parliament passed the bill, and royal assent was granted three days later. The law entered into force on 15 June 2012.[5] The proposed legislation removes almost all discrimination in current law, leaving only a few gender-specific articles.[6]

Adoption and family planning[edit]

See also: LGBT parenting

On 2 June 2006, the Danish Parliament voted to repeal a law that since 1997 had banned lesbians from artificial insemination, giving lesbians more parental rights to genectically have children. Also, the other partner who is not the biological parent of the child is written onto the birth certificate as the other natural parent.[7]

Since 1999, a person in a same-sex registered partnership has been able to adopt his or her partner's biological children (known as a "stepchild adoption").[8][9]

Since 1 July 2010, same-sex couples may apply jointly for adoption.[10][11]

On 20 July 2014, a gay male couple became the first gay couple to adopt a foreign child since it became legal in 2010, when they adopted a nine-month old girl from South Africa.[12]

Military service[edit]

LGBT persons are not banned from military service.[13]

Discrimination protections[edit]

Danish law includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.[14][15]

Hate crimes laws[edit]

Danish law includes hate crimes legislation, which adds extra penalties for crimes committed against people because of their sexuality.[14]

Rights of transgender persons in Denmark[edit]

In February 2013, a Guatemalan became the first transgender person to be granted asylum in Denmark because of persecution in her native country.[16] However, she was put in a facility for men, where she had been assaulted several times and was initially refused. They reopened the case when LGBT Denmark proved her life would be in danger if she returned to Guatemala.[17]

In June 2014, the Danish Parliament voted 59-52 to remove the requirement of diagnosis with a mental disorder and surgery with irreversible sterilization during the process of a legal sex change. Since September 1, 2014, Danes over 18 years old who wish to apply for a legal sex change can do so by stating that they want to change their documentation, followed by a six-month long "reflection period" to confirm the request.[18][19]

Summary by territories of the Kingdom of Denmark[edit]


LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Civil union Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Denmark Denmark Yes Legal since 1933[14] Yes Registered partnership from 1989 Yes Legal since 2012 Yes Yes Since 1978 Yes Bans all anti-gay discrimination Yes Legal gender change and recognition possible without surgery or hormone therapy.[20]

Dependencies in the Commonwealth of the Realm[edit]

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Civil union Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination (sexual orientation) Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Faroe Islands Faroe Islands
(constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark)
Yes Legal since 1933[14] No No No Yes Since 1978 Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination Yes
Greenland Greenland
(constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark)
Yes Legal since 1933 Yes Registered partnership since 1996 No (pending) Yes / No Step-child adoption only Yes Since 1978 Yes Bans some anti-gay discrimination No

Summary table[edit]

Please note: This does not include the Dependencies in the Commonwealth of the Realm

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (since 1933)
Gays allowed to serve in the military Yes (since 1978)
Equal age of consent Yes (since 1977)
Homosexuality declassified as an illness Yes (1981)[21][22]
Anti-discrimination laws in all areas, (incl. hate speech) Yes (since 2004)
Recognition of same-sex couples Yes (since 1986)[23]
Access to IVF for lesbians Yes (since 2006)
Step adoption by same-sex couples Yes (since 1999)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples Yes (since 2010)
Same-sex marriage Yes (since 2012)
Transexuality declassified as an illness No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bekendtgørelse af straffeloven
  2. ^ a b The Copenhagen Post, 7 June 2012: Gay marriage legalised Retrieved 2012-09-19
  3. ^ Homoseksuelle fik ja til ægteskab - Jyllands-Posten.
  4. ^ Europe Split On Gay Marriage
  5. ^ 'The bill as proposed by the minister of Social Affairs and Integration', "Folketinget", 14 March 2012.
  6. ^ Article 1, section 7 of the bill, "L 106 Forslag til lov om ændring af lov om ægteskabs indgåelse og opløsning, lov om ægteskabets retsvirkninger og retsplejeloven og om ophævelse af lov om registreret partnerskab."
  7. ^ "National Report: Denmark", authored by Christina G. Jeppesen de Boer and Annette Kronborg, American University Journal of Gender Social Policy and Law, volume 19, number 1, page 119, 2011 (footnote 21 references Act No. 535)
  8. ^ "Draft Paper: Same-Sex Couples as Parents", authored by Nina Dethloff, Bonn University (footnote 16 references § 4(1) Lov om registreret partnerskab no. 372)
  9. ^ "National Report: Denmark", authored by Christina G. Jeppesen de Boer and Annette Kronborg, American University Journal of Gender Social Policy and Law, volume 19, number 1, page 118, 2011 (footnote 18 references Act No. 360)
  10. ^ (Danish) Lov om ændring af lov om registreret partnerskab, lov om en børnefamilieydelse og lov om børnetilskud og forskudsvis udbetaling af børnebidrag
  11. ^ "Gay couples in Denmark now allowed to adopt", International Gay, Lesbian, Trans and Intersex Association, 5 May 2010
  12. ^ "Første danske homopar adopterer fra udlandet". Politiken. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  13. ^ LGBT world legal wrap up survey
  14. ^ a b c d State-sponsored Homophobia A world survey of laws criminalising same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults
  15. ^ Main legislation
  16. ^ "Transgender woman granted asylum in Denmark",, 4 February 2013
  17. ^ Fernanda Milan, Guatemalan Transgender Woman, Granted Asylum In Denmark
  18. ^ World must follow Denmark's example after landmark transgender law
  19. ^ Bill proposing change of law in relation to the Civil Registration System
  20. ^ Denmark changes sex change laws
  21. ^ (Danish) 30 år siden: Homoseksualitet fjernet fra Sundhedsstyrelsens sygdomsliste
  22. ^ (Danish) Homoseksualitetsbegrebet i Danmark
  23. ^ Same-Sex Marriage: A Reference Handbook
  24. ^ Risikibetonet adfærd