LGBT rights in Norway

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

in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]

Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1972
Gender identity/expression Transgender persons allowed to change legal gender
Military service Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, intersex status protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
Registered partnerships from 1993–2009*
Same-sex marriage since 2009
*Existing partnerships remain valid, but no new partnerships accepted
Adoption Married and committed same-sex couples allowed to adopt
LLH, Kongens gate 12, Oslo.jpg

Norway, like most of Scandinavia, is very liberal in regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights and it also became the first country in the world to enact an anti-discrimination law protecting homosexuals in certain areas. Same-sex marriage, adoption, and IVF/assisted insemination treatments for lesbian couples have been legal since 2009. In 2016, Norway became the fourth country in Europe that passed a law allowing the change of legal gender solely based on self-determination.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 1972.[1] At the same time of legalization, the age of consent became equal regardless of gender and/or sexual orientation, at 16.[2]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Gender-neutral marriage has been legally provided since 1 January 2009 in Norway.[3]

A bill was proposed on 18 November 2004 by two MPs from the Socialist Left Party to abolish the existing civil union laws, and make marriage laws gender neutral. The move was withdrawn and replaced by a request that the cabinet further investigate the issue. The conservative cabinet of that time did not look into the issue. However, the second cabinet Stoltenberg announced a common, unified marriage act as part of its foundation document, the Soria Moria statement. A public hearing was opened on 16 May 2007.

On 29 May 2008, the Associated Press reported that two Norwegian opposition parties came out in favour of the new bill, assuring its passage when at 11 June vote. Prior to this, there were some disagreements with members of the current three-party governing coalition on whether the bill had enough votes to pass.

The first parliamentary hearing, including the vote, was held on 11 June 2008 approving by 84 votes to 41 a bill that will allow same-sex couples to marry. This came after the Norwegian government proposed a marriage law on 14 March 2008, that would give lesbian and gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals, including church weddings, adoption and assisted pregnancies. The new legislation amended the definition of civil marriage to make it gender neutral. Norway's upper legislative chamber (Lagtinget) passed a new equality law with 23–17 vote in favor of the gender neutral marriage. The King of Norway granted royal assent thereafter. The law took effect on 1 January 2009.

Prior to the gender neutral marriage law, a civil partnership law had been in effect since 1993. Partnerskapsloven, as it was known in Norwegian, granted many marriage rights to same-sex couples, only without calling it marriage. In 1991 unregistered same-sex cohabitation was recognized by the government for the granting of limited rights, such as being considered as next of kin for medical decisions, and in the event of wrongful death of one partner the other partner was entitled to compensation.[4]

In 2014, the Church of Norway's National Council voted down a proposal to perform same-sex marriages in the church.[5]

In 2015, the Church of Norway voted to allow same-sex marriages to take place in its churches.[6] The decision was ratified at the annual conference on 11 April 2016.[7][8][9]

Adoption and family planning[edit]

See also: LGBT parenting

Married and committed same-sex couples are permitted to adopt under Norwegian law. Stepchild adoption is also allowed for all married and committed couples. For lesbians artificial insemination is available.

Additionally—pursuant to the law which legalized same-sex marriage—when a woman who is married to or in a stable co-habiting relationship with another woman becomes pregnant through artificial insemination, the other partner will have all the rights and duties of parenthood "from the moment of conception".

Military status[edit]

LGBT people can serve openly in the Armed Forces. They have had full rights and anti-discrimination protections since 1979.[10]

Discrimination protections and hate crime laws[edit]

In 1981, Norway became the first country in the world to enact a law to prevent discrimination against LGBT people by amending Paragraph 349a of its Penal Code, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the provision of goods or services and in access to public gatherings. In the same year, Paragraph 135a of the Penal Code was amended to prohibit hate speech directed at LGBT people.[11] The country has banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment since 1998. Norway also has a law explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and expression, by a report from ILGA-Europe. Norway is one of 5 countries besides Australia, South Africa, Malta, and Germany to protect intersex people and explicitly states it in the anti-discrimination law, by the same report from ILGA-Europe.

Gender recognition[edit]

On 18 March 2016, the government introduced the bill to allow legal gender change without any form of psychiatric or psychological evaluation as well as the need of a diagnosis or any kind of medical intervention by people aged at least 16. Minors aged between 6 and 16 also could have that possibility with parental consent.[12][13][14] The bill was approved by a vote of 79-13 by the parliament on 6 June.[15][16] The bill was promulgated on 17 June and took effect on 1 July 2016.[14][17]

Condition of LGBT rights[edit]

Norway is generally gay-friendly.[18] The most open and including community can be found in the capital, Oslo, where many gay-friendly events and venues are located.[19]

In 2015 media said that there is a move to have a taxi station moved from near the entrance to Oslo's oldest so-called gay pub; Muslims claimed that pictures have been taken by taxi drivers parked at the station—of Muslims entering the pub; some of these pictures have later been distributed widely within Muslim communities.[20]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1972)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 1972)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (Since 1998)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes (Since 1981)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes (Since 1981)
Same-sex marriages Yes (Since 2009)
Recognition of same-sex couples Yes (Since 1993)
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since 2009)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples Yes (Since 2009)
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military Yes (Since 1979)
Right to change legal sex Yes (Since 2000)
Access to IVF for lesbians and automatic parenthood for both spouses after birth Yes (Since 2009)
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples Banned regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
MSMs allowed to donate blood No (Pending)[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "State-sponsored Homophobia A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults" (PDF). Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  2. ^ (Norwegian) Almindelig borgerlig Straffelov (Straffeloven)
  3. ^ AVCATHERINE STEIN  . "Same sex marriage law passed by wide majority". Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "Norway" (PDF). Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Question of same-sex marriages unresolved". NRK/Vårt Land. The Norway Post. 9 April 2014. Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Wee, Darren (2 November 2015). "Norway bishops open doors to gay church weddings". Gay Star News. Archived from the original on 23 January 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016. 
  7. ^ Pettersen, Jørgen; Edvardsen, Ingvild; Skjærseth, Lars Erik (11 April 2016). "Nå kan homofile gifte seg i kirka". NRK. Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  8. ^ Oesterud, Tor Ingar (11 April 2016). "Large majority want gay marriage in church". Norway Today. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  9. ^ Fouche, Gwladys (11 April 2016). "Norway's Lutheran church votes in favor of same-sex marriage". Reuters. Archived from the original on 15 April 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2016. 
  10. ^ "60 års homokamp: Stå oppreist og samlet". 21 June 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "Fact Sheet: Nationwide Legal Protection From Discriminatiion Based On Sexual Orientation". Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  12. ^ Norway set to allow gender change without medical intervention
  13. ^ Easier to change legal gender
  14. ^ a b (Norwegian) Lov om endring av juridisk kjønn
  15. ^ Norway now allows trans people to decide their own gender
  16. ^ Norway becomes fourth country in the world to allow trans people to determine their own gender
  17. ^ (Norwegian) Lov om endring av juridisk kjønn
  18. ^ Gay Guide: Norway July 14, 2012.
  19. ^ Gay Oslo July 14, 2012.
  20. ^ Vil ha slutt på snikfotografering av homofile
  21. ^ Homofile menn kan snart få gi blod. Men bare de som ikke har sex