LGBT rights in Iceland

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LGBT rights in Iceland Iceland
Location of  LGBT rights in Iceland  (dark green)in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]
Location of  LGBT rights in Iceland  (dark green)

in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]

Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1940,
age of consent equalized in 1992
Gender identity/expression Change legal gender allowed
Military service No standing army
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation and gender identity protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
Same-sex marriage since 2010
Adoption Both full joint and step-child adoption allowed

Lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Iceland are very progressive. In February 2009 a minority government took office, headed by Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, the world's first openly gay head of government in modern times. The parliament amended the marriage law on 11 June 2010 to define marriage as between two individuals, thereby making same-sex marriage legal. The law took effect on 27 June 2010.[1] Also, since 2006, same-sex couples have had equal access to adoption and IVF.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

A law criminalizing same-sex sexual activity was repealed in 1940. In 1992 the age of consent was set at 14,[2] and in 2007 it was raised to 15, regardless of gender and sexual orientation.[3][4]

Recognition of same-sex unions[edit]

Registered partnerships for same-sex couples became legal in 1996.[5][6][7] It was replaced by the gender-neutral marriage law on 27 June 2010.

On 23 March 2010, the Government presented the bill, which would allow same-sex couples to marry.[8][9][10][11] On 11 June 2010 the parliament unanimously approved the bill.[1][12] The law took effect on 27 June.[13]

Gender Identity[edit]

On 11 June 2012, the Icelandic parliament voted in a new law relaxing rules surrounding gender identity and allowing comprehensive recognition regarding recognition of acquired gender and enacting gender identity protections.[14] These laws were enacted 27 June 2012. The laws state that the National University Hospital of Iceland (Icelandic: Landspítali - háskólasjúkrahús) is obligated to create a department dedicated to diagnosing gender dysphoria, as well as performing sex reassignment surgery (SRS). After successfully completing an 18-month process, including living 12 months in accordance their gender, applicants appear before a committee of professionals. If the committee determine that a diagnosis of GID is appropriate, the National registry is informed and the applicant chooses a new name to reflect their gender and are issued a new ID-number (kennitala) and ID. Sex reassignment surgery is not required for official name change and gender recognition.

Adoption and family planning[edit]

See also: LGBT parenting

Since 27 June 2006, Icelandic same-sex couples became eligible to a range of laws including public access to IVF insemination treatment and both full joint adoption and adopting your own partner's biological children.[7]

Discrimination protections[edit]

The Icelandic law prohibits discrimination and hate speech/crime based on sexual orientation and gender identity since 1996.[2]

Living conditions[edit]

Gay Pride 2004 in Reykjavík

Despite its small population, Reykjavík has a visible gay scene, with a few bars and cafés, and some places with a mixed gay and straight crowd. Elsewhere in Iceland, however, the sparse population means there is no gay scene.[15] Akureyri the biggest city outside the capital area, doesn't have any gay bars, despite the town having a population of about 17,700. There has been no studies whether such business would be profitable or not, in the town. Gay pride parades in Iceland are usually held in August.[15]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1940)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 1992)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes (Since 1996)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes (Since 1996)
Same-sex marriage Yes (Since 2010)
Recognition of same-sex unions Yes (Since 1996)
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since 2006)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since 2006)
Gay people allowed to serve openly in the military No standing army
Right to change legal gender Yes
Equal access to IVF for all couples Yes (Since 2006)
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples Illegal for all couples regardless of sexual orientation
MSMs allowed to donate blood[16] No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Iceland parliament votes for gay marriage
  2. ^ a b Homosexuality and the Law - Fragments of Icelandic History
  3. ^ (Icelandic) The Icelandic Penal Code
    202. gr. Hver sem hefur samræði eða önnur kynferðismök við barn, yngra en 15[fimmtán] ára, skal sæta fangelsi ekki skemur en 1[eitt] ár og allt að 16[sextán] árum.
    Section 202 Anyone who has carnal intercourse or other sexual intimacy with a child younger than 15 years shall be subject to imprisonment for at least 1 year and up to 16 years.
  4. ^ Hver er samræðisaldur á Íslandi? ("What is the age of consent in Iceland?") on Vísindavefurinn
  5. ^ "Iceland : Recognized partnership law, 1996". 1 July 1996. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "Partnership Law In Iceland". Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Important Improvements in Gay and Lesbian Rights in Iceland". 12 June 2006. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  8. ^ Iceland Likely to Permit Gay Marriage by June
  9. ^ Iceland is fine-tuning marriage-equality bill
  10. ^ "Frumvarp til laga um breytingar á hjúskaparlögum og fleiri lögum og um brottfall laga um staðfesta samvist (ein hjúskaparlög)". Alþingi. Retrieved 24 March 2010. 
  11. ^ Hjúskaparlög, staðfest samvist o.fl. (ein hjúskaparlög)
  12. ^ Iceland passes gay marriage law in unanimous vote
  13. ^ "New gay marriage law in Iceland comes into force". Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  14. ^ Iceland adopts a new comprehensive law on trans issues
  15. ^ a b Gay Iceland
  16. ^ Hommar mega giftast en ekki gefa blóð