Same-sex marriage in Norway

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Same-sex marriage in Norway has been legal since 1 January 2009 when a gender-neutral marriage bill came into force after being passed by the Storting in June 2008. Norway became the first Scandinavian country and the sixth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

Previously, from 1993 to 2008, Norway allowed same-sex couples to enter registered partnerships. Norway was the second country in the world to provide some form of recognition to same-sex couples, behind Denmark.

History[edit]

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe¹
  Marriage
  Civil union
  Limited domestic recognition (cohabitation)
  Limited foreign recognition (residency rights)
  Unrecognized
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples
¹ May include recent laws or court decisions that have not yet entered into effect.

Registered partnerships[edit]

Previously, Norway had allowed same-sex registered partnerships (Norwegian: registrert partnerskap; Northern Sami: registrerejuvvon párragaskavuohta)[a] since 1 August 1993, when a law regulating such partnerships came into force.[1][2] Norway became the second country to do so, after Denmark, which implemented a registered partnership law in 1989.

Registered partnerships were granted virtually all the protections, responsibilities and benefits of marriage, including arrangements for the breakdown of the relationship.[1][2] Initially, the partnership law stated that registered partners could not adopt, and that only married couples or opposite-sex cohabiting couples could access artificial insemination. In June 2001, however, the Norwegian Parliament approved a bill allowing registered partners to adopt their partner's children.[3] The amendment took effect on 1 January 2002.[1][2][4]

One of the more notable people to register a relationship was former Finance Minister Per-Kristian Foss.[5][6]

Since 2009, couples who have registered their relationship may retain their status as registered partners or "upgrade" to a marriage. However, no new registered partnerships may be created.

Statistics[edit]

From 1993 to 2008, 1,485 partnerships between men and 1,233 partnerships between women were registered in Norway.[7]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

A bill was proposed on 18 November 2004 by two MPs from the Socialist Left Party to abolish the existing registered partnership law, and make the marriage law 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 The move was withdrawn and replaced by a request that the cabinet further investigate the issue.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 Stoltenberg's Second Cabinet announced a common, unified marriage act as part of its foundation document, the First Declaration of Soria Moria. A public hearing was opened on 16 May 2007.[8]

On 14 March 2008, the Norwegian Government proposed a marriage bill that would give lesbian and gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals, including church weddings (although the law does not oblige any religious community to marry same-sex couples), full joint adoption rights and assisted pregnancies. The new legislation would amend the definition of civil marriage to make it gender-neutral.[9][10] On 29 May, the Associated Press reported that two Norwegian opposition parties (the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party) had come out in favour of the new bill, assuring its passage at the vote on 11 June 2008. Prior to this, there were some disagreements with members of the three-party governing coalition on whether the bill had enough votes to pass.[11] On 11 June, the lower house (Odelsting) approved the legislation by 84 votes to 41.[12][13][14][15] Norway's upper house (Lagting) passed the bill with a 23–17 vote on 17 June. The King of Norway, Harald V, granted royal assent thereafter. The law took effect on 1 January 2009.[16] In addition to providing a gender-neutral definition of marriage, the law, known as the Marriage Act (Norwegian: Ekteskapsloven; Northern Sami: Náittosláhka),[b] states that when a woman who is married to another woman becomes pregnant through artificial insemination, the other partner will have all the rights of parenthood "from the moment of conception".

Statistics[edit]

From 2009 to 2015, an average of 270 same-sex marriages took place per year, compared to an average of 127 registered partnerships from 1993 to 2008. 754 partnerships were converted to marriages in the first three years of same-sex marriage being legal. Female couples were more likely to adopt children than male couples, as about 30% of all married lesbian couples had children, compared to 72% of married straight couples and 3% of married male couples.[17]

By the end of 2019, 3,169 same-sex marriages had been performed in Norway.[18]

Number of marriages and divorces in Norway[19][20][21]
Year Same-sex marriages Total marriages Same-sex divorces Total divorces
Female Male Total Female Male Total
2009[22] 178 105 283 24,582 0 0 0 10,235
2010[23] 167 97 264 23,577 3 1 4 10,228
2011[24] 166 93 259 23,135 15 4 19 10,207
2012[25] 167 102 269 24,346 17 6 23 9,929
2013[26] 162 90 252 23,410 37 19 56 9,736
2014[27] 163 106 269 22,887 38 12 50 9,556
2015[28] 187 113 300 22,738 50 18 68 9,306
2016[29] 157 121 278 22,537 57 21 78 9,345
2017[30] 214 119 333 22,111 70 21 91 9,848
2018[31] 192 139 331 20,949 55 25 80 9,545
2019[32] 222 109 331 19,855 75 36 111 9,609

Marriages in the Church of Norway[edit]

In 2014, the Church of Norway's National Council voted down a proposal to perform same-sex marriages in the church.[33]

In 2015, the Church of Norway voted to allow same-sex marriages to take place in its churches.[34] The decision was ratified at the annual conference on 11 April 2016.[35][36][37] The church formally amended its marriage liturgy on 30 January 2017, replacing references to "bride and groom" with gender-neutral text.[38] A male same-sex couple was immediately married in the church the moment the changes came into effect on 1 February 2017.[39]

Public opinion[edit]

Five different polls conducted by Gallup Europe, Sentio, Synovate MMI, Norstat and YouGov in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013 concluded that 61%, 63%, 66%, 58%, 70% and 78%, respectively, of the Norwegian population supported a gender-neutral marriage law.[40][41][42][43]

A 2007 Ipsos MMI poll showed that 61% of Norwegians supported same-sex marriage, and 42% personally knew a gay person. This represented a large increase compared to 1998, when the numbers were 25% and 12% respectively.[44]

A Pew Research Center poll, conducted between April and August 2017 and published in May 2018, showed that 72% of Norwegians supported same-sex marriage, 19% were opposed and 9% didn't know or refused to answer.[45] When divided by religion, 83% of religiously unaffiliated people, 72% of non-practicing Christians and 42% of church-attending Christians supported same-sex marriage.[46] Opposition was 14% among 18–34-year-olds.[47]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lule Sami: registardum guojmmevuohta; Southern Sami: tjaalasovveme guejmievoete; Kven: rekisteröity parisuhđe
  2. ^ Lule Sami: Gállasjvuohtaláhka; Southern Sami: Ektievoetelaake; Kven: Avioliittolaki

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Asland, John; Waaldijk, Kees. "Major legal consequences of marriage, cohabitation and registered partnership for different-sex and same-sex partners in Norway" (PDF). INED. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Registered partnership". Government of Norway. 12 December 2001. Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  3. ^ "The Adoption Act". Archived from the original on 28 January 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Lov om endringer i lov 28. februar 1986 nr. 8 om adopsjon og i lov 30. april 1993 nr. 40 om registrert partnerskap". Storting (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 7 July 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Norwegian minister 'marries' gay partner". BBC News. 15 January 2002. Archived from the original on 5 April 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  6. ^ Mellgren, Doug (16 January 2002). "Norwegian is first gay minister to marry partner". The Independent. Archived from the original on 5 April 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Inngåtte registrerte partnerskap 1993 - 2008" (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Norway Moves To Legalize Gay Marriage". 365gay News. 16 May 2007. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008.
  9. ^ Lambert, Gavin (17 March 2008). "Norway moves to legalise gay marriage". PinkNews. Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  10. ^ Berglund, Nina (14 March 2008). "Gays to win marriage rights". Aftenposten. Archived from the original on 18 June 2008.
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  12. ^ "Norway adopts gay marriage law". Agence France-Presse. 11 June 2008. Archived from the original on 29 May 2013.
  13. ^ Goll, Sven (12 June 2008). "Same sex marriage law passed by wide majority". Aftenposten. Archived from the original on 13 June 2008.
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  26. ^ "Marriages and divorces, 2013". Statistics Norway. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
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  28. ^ "Marriages and divorces, 2015". Statistics Norway. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
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  34. ^ Wee, Darren (2 November 2015). "Norway bishops open doors to gay church weddings". Gay Star News. Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  35. ^ Pettersen, Jørgen; Edvardsen, Ingvild; Skjærseth, Lars Erik (11 April 2016). "Nå kan homofile gifte seg i kirka". NRK. Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
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  38. ^ Fouche, Gwladys (30 January 2017). "Norway's Lutheran Church embraces same-sex marriage". Reuters. Archived from the original on 3 February 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
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  44. ^ "Dramatisk holdningsendring". Blikk (in Norwegian). 14 May 2007. Archived from the original on 1 July 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
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  46. ^ "Being Christian in Western Europe". Pew Research Center. 29 May 2018. Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
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External links[edit]