LGBT rights in the Faroe Islands

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LGBT rights in the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Decriminalized since 1933, age of consent equalized since 1988.
Gender identity/expression Transsexuals are legal to change their gender
Military service Denmark is responsible for defence. Gays were allowed to serve in the army since 1978.
Discrimination protections Yes
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
No recognition
Adoption None

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the Faroe Islands may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Public attitude is becoming more & more liberal after it has been a long taboo subject. Furthermore, both male and female same-sex sexual activity has become legal in the Faroe Islands for decades, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal rights available to opposite-sex married couples.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in the Faroe Islands since 1933 when it was decriminalized in Denmark. At that time the age of consent was set at 18 for same-sex relations. Then in 1988, the age of consent became gender-neutral and equal at 15.[1]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

The Faroe Islands does not recognize same-sex unions.

In 2012, Denmark legalised same-sex marriage, however the law did not affect the Faroe Islands or Greenland.

A bill to allow same-sex marriage was to be submitted to the Løgting after 29 July 2013, at the opening of the parliamentary session.

A set of bills to extend Danish same-sex marriage legislation to the Faroe Islands was submitted to the Løgting on 20 November 2013. These bills do not include the possibility for same-sex couples to have a legally valid church wedding. If approved, they would enter into force on 1 April 2014.[2][3][4] However, parliamentary approval was unlikely due to opposition from the parties of the governing coalition.[5] The bills were rejected at the second reading on 13 March 2014.[6][7][8][9]

Unlike Greenland, Denmark's registered partnership extension to the Faroe Islands was never considered, as Denmark already repealed the registered partnership act on 15 June 2012 and replace by the new gender-neutral marriage law when the Faroese parliament proposed same-sex marriage legislation.

Discrimination protections and hate crimes[edit]

Denmark had prohibited discrimination on sexual orientation was enforced in 1987. The Faroese parliament also proposed a similar bill in 1988, after allowing the equal age of consent. However, the bill was rejected as only 1 voted "Yes" while 17 voted "No".[10] The bill was not proposed again until November 2005, but it was rejected again and the Faroese parliament was also criticized by an Icelandic MP.[11]

Discrimination against gays and lesbians on the islands is rare but became a hot topic in 2006 after Rasmus Rasmussen, a 25-year-old openly gay musician and popular radio host, allegedly was assaulted by five men in Tórshavn. On the internet, 20000 signatures were collected from different parts of world (mostly Danish, Icelandic and Faroese people) to urge the Faroese parliament to vote to ban discrimination against people with different sexual orientation.[12]

Then, on 15 December 2006, in a 17–15 vote, Faroese legislators included the words "sexual orientation" in the islands' anti-discrimination law.[13][14]

Living conditions[edit]

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Unrecognized
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples

Includes laws that have not yet gone into effect.

The Faroe Islands has been stereotyped as "a homophobic country" or "a conservative country" by other Nordic countries for a long time. Generally, this is because the Faroe Islands is the most religious region in the Nordics and religious observance is widespread and intense among the Faroese.[15] The Faroe Islands also has a lack of gay rights like in the other Nordic countries as it remains the only Nordic region that does not recognize any same-sex unions. Both factors have created an assumption that Faroese people are intolerant of LGBT individuals. But the main reason is, there were various homophobic statements and attacks happened on the Faroe Islands that were widespread in the Scandinavian press. For example:

1. In 2005, by a vote of 20 to 12 (with 1 abstention), the Parliament of the Faroe Islands rejected a bill that would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The members of Parliament who voted against it claimed that since 'homosexuality goes against the Bible,' discrimination against a person on that basis should be lawful. There were also many insult comments from the parliament members towards the LGBT people, like saying gay people are sinners and even compare them to pedophiles.[16][17]

2. The members of Great Garlic Girls, a group of Norwegian males who perform in drag, had to run for their lives when a gang of young men, intent on assaulting them physically, chased them down the street in Tórshavn. Nowhere else (the group, founded in 1981, has successfully performed in Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) has it been physically attacked.[18]

3. In 2006, Rasmus Rasmussen (14 July 1980 – 10 October 2012), a well-known, well-liked, and well-respected Faroese singer, songwriter, guitarist, and host of a radio program, who never hurt a fly in his life, publicly announced that he was gay and a short time later five men beat him up in Tórshavn. He was rushed to the emergency room of the nearest hospital and later moved to a psychiatric hospital because he had fallen into a deep depression, which have been been prompted only by the thrashing he had suffered. After the media reported the beating, he and his family got threatening telephone calls.[19]

4. In 2010, another homophobic case became widespread in the Scandinavian press. This was because several MPs (especially Jenis av Rana) from a Christianity-based conservative party declined the invitation to have dinner with the ex-Icelandic Prime Minister who was a married lesbian. Jenis said that the declination was because of the party's views against same-sex marriages.[11]

However, the recent developments showed that the Faroe Islands is becoming more and more liberal. This was probably because after the Faroese parliament approved banning discrimination towards LGBT people, many LGBT people were encouraged to come out publicly.[20] For example, in the "Faroe pride 2012", there was a historic record of about 5000 participants.[21] There were various LGBT exhibitions on the islands like "Hvat er natúrligt?"[22] or ""Gay Greenland"[23] that gained public support towards the LGBT community. The Faroese gay right activist group "LGBT Føroyar" also got lots of support from the general public. [24]

The Faroese LGBT population also got support from some famous Faroese people, like Eivør Pálsdóttir.[25]

Furthermore, a May 2013 Gallup survey found that 68% favoured civil marriage for same-sex couples, with 27% against and 5% undecided. No age groups had more opponents than the supporters.[26][27][28] A more recent poll also showed a similar trend. 62% supported same-sex marriage, while 28% were against it and 10% were undecided.[29]

Despite the recent liberal attitudes towards the LGBT people, there are limitations on the living conditions of the LGBT people.

Visible gay scene are very limited in the Faroe Islands. Furthermore, most of the members of parliament or the government officials are still holding homophobic attitudes or holding religious views to criticize LGBT people that hinder further LGBT rights.[30] This can be also proved from the lack of LGBT rights in the Faroe Islands, making the region scored very low in the "Rainbow Map Europe 2013", especially compared to neighboring countries or even some post-communist countries. [31][32]

In the past, demonization towards LGBT people as "monsters" or "freaks" by the churches or religious leaders was quite common.[33] And until recently, there were limited knowledge and talks about LGBT people and their rights, thus for decades, many of the Faroese LGBT people had to stay in the closet for fear of discrimination. There were also cases of Faroese LGBT people rejected by their family or friends and cases of LGBT people to become "refugees" in other Nordic countries (especially Denmark) to flee from discrimination or to get their right recognized are not uncommon. There were even Faroese LGBT living in overseas saying they refuse to go back to the Faroe Islands.[34] [35]

Furthermore, there were controversies when there was the first gay pride. The Faroese newspapers received a lot of complains & criticisms about the gay pride from readers.[36]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1933)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 1988)
Anti-discrimination laws in hate crime Yes (Since 2006)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Same-sex marriage(s) No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Adoption by a single LGBT person Yes
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays allowed to serve in the military Yes (Denmark is responsible for defence. Since 1978)
Right to change legal gender Yes
Access to IVF for lesbians No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No [37]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Faroe Pride
  2. ^ (Faroese) 51/2013 Uppskot til ríkislógartilmæli um at seta í gildi fyri Føroyar partar av broytingum í hjúnabandslógini og rættarvirknaðarlógini við tilhoyrandi skjølum
  3. ^ (Faroese) 52/2013 Uppskot til ríkislógartilmæli um broyting í rættargangslógini fyri Føroyar
  4. ^ (Faroese) 53/2013 Uppskot til ríkislógartilmæli um broyting í “Anordning om ikrafttræden for Færøerne af lov om ægteskabs indgåelse og opløsning”
  5. ^ (Danish) Færøerne klar til homovielser - og så ikke alligevel
  6. ^ Faroe Islands: Equal marriage bill voted down
  7. ^ (Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 51 Viðgerð: 2
  8. ^ (Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 52 Viðgerð: 2
  9. ^ (Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 53 Viðgerð: 2
  10. ^ Being the ‘Other’ from the Faroe Islands
  11. ^ a b Faroe Islands MP refuses to dine with Iceland’s gay prime minister and her partner
  12. ^ Homophobia "perfectly legal" in Faroe Islands
  13. ^ Island Chain Votes To Ban Discrimination Against Gays
  14. ^ §266b
  15. ^ Faroese religion
  16. ^ http://www.humciv.com/
  17. ^ http://www.homoglobiini.fi/2007/02/27/a-letter-from-faroe-islands/?lang=fi
  18. ^ http://www.humciv.com/
  19. ^ http://www.humciv.com/
  20. ^ http://rudar.ruc.dk/bitstream/1800/14477/1/LGBT%20F%C3%B8royar%20Project.pdf
  21. ^ http://castroller.com/podcasts/TheFaroeIslands/3002862
  22. ^ http://listinblog.blogspot.hk/2012/07/hvat-er-naturligt-ra-og.html
  23. ^ https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.792646730746718.1073741841.226290867382310&type=1
  24. ^ https://www.facebook.com/lgbtforoyar
  25. ^ https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.597172336960826.1073741829.226290867382310&type=3
  26. ^ Poll: 68% approve of equal marriage in the Faroe Islands
  27. ^ Large majority agrees with civil marriage for homosexuals
  28. ^ http://www.humciv.com/
  29. ^ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=799530556725002&set=a.227312613946802.71659.226290867382310&type=1&theater
  30. ^ http://lgbt.fo/?page_id=1227
  31. ^ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=784605328217525&set=pb.226290867382310.-2207520000.1400304259.&type=3&theater
  32. ^ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=737839102894148&set=pb.226290867382310.-2207520000.1400304327.&type=3&theater
  33. ^ http://www.humciv.com/
  34. ^ http://rudar.ruc.dk/bitstream/1800/14477/1/LGBT%20F%C3%B8royar%20Project.pdf
  35. ^ http://www.homoglobiini.fi/2007/02/27/a-letter-from-faroe-islands/?lang=fi
  36. ^ http://castroller.com/podcasts/TheFaroeIslands/3002862
  37. ^ "Vantandi rættindi og mismunur". Lgbt.fo. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 

External links[edit]