Same-sex marriage in Norway
|Legal status of same-sex unions|
* Not yet in effect
Same-sex marriage became legally recognized in Norway on 1 January 2009, when a gender neutral marriage bill was enacted after being passed by the Norwegian legislature in June 2008. Norway became the first Scandinavian country and the sixth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
Norway has allowed same-sex registered partnerships since the 30 April 1993 act, which came into force on 1 August 1993. Norway became the second country to do so, after Denmark, which implemented a registered partnership law in 1989.
The act stated that the articles in the Adoption Act relating to married couples shall not apply for registered partners. It also follows from the Act on Biotechnology that artificial insemination can only be given to a married couple or cohabitants of opposite sexes. In June 2001, however, the Norwegian Parliament approved a bill allowing registered partners to adopt their partner's children. The law took effect on 1 January 2002.
Couples who have registered their relationships may retain their status as registered partners or "upgrade" to a marriage since the new law has taken effect. However, no new registered partnerships may be created.
A bill was proposed on 18 November 2004 by two MPs from the Socialist Left Party to abolish the existing registered partnership 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 The move was withdrawn and replaced by a request that the cabinet further investigate the issue.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 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.
On 29 May 2008, the Associated Press reported that two Norwegian opposition parties (The Liberal Party and The Conservative Party) came 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.
The first parliamentary hearing, including the vote, was held on 11 June 2008, with the lower house approving by 84 votes to 41 a bill that allowed 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 (although the law does not oblige any religious community to marry same-sex couples), full joint adoption and assisted pregnancies. The new legislation amended the definition of civil marriage to make it gender neutral. Norway's upper house 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.
In 2014, the Church of Norway's National Council voted down a proposal to perform same-sex marriages in the church. In 2015, however, the Church of Norway voted to allow same-sex marriages to take place in its churches.
In addition to providing a gender-neutral definition of marriage, the bill 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".
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 support gender-neutral marriage laws.
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- (Norwegian) Lov om endringer i ekteskapsloven, barnelova, adopsjonsloven, bioteknologiloven mv. (felles ekteskapslov for heterofile og homofile par)