Same-sex marriage in Denmark
Same-sex marriage became legal in Denmark on 15 June 2012. A bill for legalization, introduced by the Government of Helle Thorning-Schmidt, was approved by the Folketing on 7 June 2012 and received royal assent by Queen Margrethe II on 12 June 2012. Same-sex couples were previously recognized through registered partnerships. Denmark was the eleventh country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage is also legal in the two other constituent countries of the Kingdom of Denmark:
- In Greenland, legislation to allow same-sex marriage passed the Parliament of Greenland on 26 May 2015. The Danish Parliament (known as the Folketing) ratified the legislation on 19 January 2016 and the law took effect on 1 April 2016.
- In the Faroe Islands, same-sex marriage legislation passed the Parliament (Løgting) on 29 April 2016. The legislation was ratified by the Danish Parliament on 25 April 2017 and received royal assent on 3 May 2017. The law took effect on 1 July 2017.
Registered partnerships (Danish: registreret partnerskab) in Denmark were created by a law enacted on 7 June 1989, the world's first such law, and came into force on 1 October 1989. Three attempts to expand the law in May 2003, another in June 2003, and another in June 2006 failed in Parliament. The law was successfully expanded in June 2009 and in May 2010.
Registered partnerships had almost all the same qualities as marriage. All legal and fiscal rights and obligations were like those of opposite-sex marriage, with the following two exceptions:
- laws making explicit reference to the sexes of a married couple did not apply to registered partnerships
- regulations by international treaties did not apply unless all signatories agree.
Divorce for registered partners followed the same rules as opposite-sex divorces. Registered partners had to meet one of the following residency requirements to form a union: (1) one partner had to be a Danish citizen and be resident in Denmark, or (2) both parties must have been resident in Denmark for two years. Citizens of Finland, Iceland and Norway were treated as Danish citizens for purposes of the residency requirements. Additionally, the Justice Minister could order that a citizen of any other country with a registered partnership law similar to Denmark's be treated as a citizen of Denmark.
In 2006, lesbian individuals and couples were given the right to have access to artificial insemination treatment.
On 17 March 2009, the Folketing introduced a bill that gave same-sex couples in registered partnerships the right to adopt jointly. This bill was approved on 4 May 2010 and took effect on 1 July 2010.
On 15 June 2012, the Registered Partnership Act was repealed and replaced by the new gender-neutral marriage law.
In 2006, five Social Liberal MPs introduced a resolution that asked the Government to draft a gender-neutral marriage law. The resolution was debated in Parliament and opposed by members of the conservative governing coalition. The Minister for the Family, Carina Christensen, argued that registered partners already had the same rights as married partners except the ability to marry in church, and thus that gender-neutral marriage was unnecessary.
In January 2008, the Social Liberal Party's Equality Rapporteur, Lone Dybkjær, once again called for gender-neutral marriage (kønsneutrale ægteskab).
The Copenhagen Mayor for Culture and Recreation, Pia Allerslev, from the liberal then-governing Venstre party, also publicly supported same-sex marriage, as did the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Ritt Bjerregaard.
In June 2010, the Parliament once again debated a same-sex marriage bill proposed by the opposition parties. It was rejected on a 52-57 vote. The motion calling for legalization was also voted down.
In October 2011, Manu Sareen, the Minister for Equality and Church Affairs in the new Danish Government, announced that the Government was seeking to legalize same-sex marriage by spring 2012. On 18 January 2012, the Government published two draft bills. One bill introduced a gender-neutral definition of marriage and allowed same-sex couples to marry either in civil registry offices or in the Church of Denmark. Existing registered partnerships would have the option of converting to a marriage, while no new registered partnerships will be able to be created. According to the other bill, individual priests would be allowed to refuse to conduct same-sex marriages. Other religious communities would also be allowed to conduct same-sex marriages but would not be compelled to do so. The bills were under consultation process until 22 February 2012.
On 14 March 2012, the Government submitted both bills to Parliament. The bills were approved on 7 June 2012 and received royal assent on 12 June 2012. The new laws took effect on 15 June 2012. The new legislation was opposed by the Danish People's Party and the Christian Democrats, a religious conservative party, although the latter were not represented in the Danish Parliament at that time. Under the law, ministers can refuse to carry out a same-sex ceremony, but the local bishop must arrange a replacement for their church building.
|Party||Votes for||Votes against||Abstained||Absent (Did Not Vote)|
|Venstre - Liberal Party|
|Danish People's Party||-||-|
|Social Liberal Party||-||-|
|Socialist People's Party||-||-|
|Conservative People's Party||-|
|Community of the People*||-||-||-|
|Social Democratic Party**||-||-||-|
Denmark's registered partnership law was extended to Greenland on 26 April 1996. Denmark's marriage law, as supported by the Government of Greenland, was to be considered by Parliament in the spring of 2014, but was postponed beyond the year due to early parliamentary elections. The legislation to grant same-sex couples marriage and adoption rights had its first reading on 25 March 2015. It was approved unanimously on second reading, held on 26 May 2015. Ratification of the legislation was required by the Danish Parliament, which granted approval of the law on 19 January 2016. The law came into effect on 1 April 2016.
Greenland's Registered Partnership Law was repealed on the same day that the same-sex marriage law came into effect.
Denmark's registered partnerships was never extended to the Faroe Islands and until 2017 it was the only Nordic region to not recognize same-sex unions. A set of bills to extend Danish gender-neutral marriage law to the Faroe Islands was submitted to the Løgting on 20 November 2013, though were rejected at second reading on 13 March 2014.
Following the Faroese general election in September 2015, two same-sex marriage bills (one permitting same-sex marriage and the other permitting same-sex divorce) were submitted to the Parliament. The bills received a first reading on 24 November 2015. On 26 April 2016, following a significant amount of parliamentary maneuvering, the same-sex marriage bill passed its second reading by a vote of 19-14. The bill passed its final reading on 29 April 2016. The Danish Parliament voted unanimously to ratify the changes to its own marriage law on 25 April 2017. The Minister of Justice subsequently allowed the law to go into effect on 1 July 2017, after some minor adjustments regarding the state church had been made.
Legislation exempting the Church of the Faroe Islands from performing same-sex marriages passed the Faroese Parliament on 30 May and went into effect on 1 July 2017, alongside the marriage law. The first same-sex wedding in the Faroe Islands was performed on 6 September 2017.
A YouGov poll, conducted between 27 December 2012 and 6 January 2013, found that 79% of supported same-sex marriage and 16% were opposed. The rest of the 6% had no opinion on this issue. The same poll also showed that 59% supported same-sex couples' right to adopt, 31% were opposed and 11% had no opinion.
A May 2013 Gallup survey from Faroe Islands found that 68% favoured civil marriage for same-sex couples, with 27% against and 5% undecided. All the regions showed a majority support and no age groups had more opponents than supporters.
Another poll from the Faroe Islands showed that 62% of respondents supported same-sex marriage. The regional divide was significant. Support was greater on Streymoy (71% in Norðurstreymoy; 78% in Suðurstreymoy) which includes the capital Tórshavn, than in the Northern Isles (42%) and on Eysturoy (48%).
In August 2014, a poll from the Faroe Islands was conducted, asking 600 respondents on their views towards civil marriage for same-sex couples. Out of the 600 respondents, 61% supported the idea, while 32% opposed and 7% had no opinion.
The 2015 Eurobarometer found that 87% of Danes supported same-sex marriage, while 9% opposed it and 4% did not know.
- Axel and Eigil Axgil
- LGBT rights in Denmark
- LGBT rights in the Faroe Islands
- LGBT rights in Greenland
- Recognition of same-sex unions in Europe
- (in Danish) Lov om ændring af lov om ægteskabs indgåelse og opløsning, lov om ægteskabets retsvirkninger og retsplejeloven og om ophævelse af lov om registreret partnerskab
- Gay marriage legalised
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- The Registered Partnership Act
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- (in Danish) 2002-03 - L 93 (oversigt): Forslag til lov om ændring af lov om registreret partnerskab. (Ligestilling mellem registreret partnerskab og heteroseksuelle ægtefæller med hensyn til fremmedadoption af danske og udenlandske børn)
- (in Danish) 2002-03 - L 129 (oversigt): Forslag til lov om ændring af lov om registreret partnerskab. (Ophævelse af kravet om statsborgerskab eller bopæl her i landet ved registrering af partnerskab)
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- (in Danish) L 146 Forslag til lov om ændring af lov om registreret partnerskab, lov om en børnefamilieydelse og lov om børnetilskud og forskudsvis udbetaling af børnebidrag
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- (in Danish) Forslag til Lov om ændring af lov om medlemskab af folkekirken, kirkelig betjening og sognebåndsløsning
- Denmark submits gay marriage bill
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- (in Faroese) 52/2013 Uppskot til ríkislógartilmæli um broyting í rættargangslógini fyri Føroyar
- (in Faroese) 53/2013 Uppskot til ríkislógartilmæli um broyting í “Anordning om ikrafttræden for Færøerne af lov om ægteskabs indgåelse og opløsning”
- Faroe Islands: Equal marriage bill voted down
- (in Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 51 Viðgerð: 2
- (in Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 52 Viðgerð: 2
- (in Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 53 Viðgerð: 2
- (in Faroese) 19/2015 Uppskot til rikislógartilmæli um at seta í gildi fyri Føroyar partar av broytingum í hjúnabandslógini og rættarvirknaðarlógini
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- Hjúnabandslógin til viðgerðar aftur týsdagin
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- Large majority agrees with civil marriage for homosexuals
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