Same-sex marriage in the Faroe Islands

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Same-sex marriage has been legal in the Faroe Islands, an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, since 1 July 2017. Legislation allowing civil same-sex marriage and adoption was approved by the Løgting on 29 April 2016. The Danish Parliament voted necessary legislative adaptations on 25 April, and this act received royal assent on 3 May 2017 and went into effect on 1 July 2017.

Registered partnerships[edit]

Denmark's registered partnership law was never adopted in the Faroe Islands.

Same-sex marriage[edit]

Failed attempts in 2013/14[edit]

Same-sex marriage legislation first appeared in the Løgting after the Tórshavn gay pride parade in 2012. A set of bills to extend Denmark's same-sex marriage legislation to the Faroe Islands was submitted to the Løgting on 20 November 2013. If approved, they would have entered into force on 1 April 2014.[1][2][3] Opposition to the bills from the parties of the governing coalition crippled its passage and the bills were rejected at the second reading on 13 March 2014,[4] despite popular public support.[5][6][7][8]

Same-sex marriage became a significant issue during the September 2015 elections.[9]

Failure of legislation in March 2016[edit]

Following the election, independent member Sonja Jógvansdóttir, along with Republic member Bjørt Samuelsen, Social Democratic member Kristianna Winther Poulsen and Progress member Hanna Jensen submitted a same-sex marriage proposal identical to the 2013 bill to the Parliament Secretariat.[10] The proposal, along with a bill permitting same-sex divorce, entered the Løgting on 17 November 2015. If approved, the law would be scheduled to go into effect on 1 July 2016.

The first reading took place on 24 November 2015.[11][12] Though a majority of the committee scrutinising the bill were said to be in favour of same-sex marriage[13] the second reading of the bill was postponed, to the third week of March 2016.[13][14] On 14 March 2016 the Welfare Committee presented their recommendation to the Løgting. Despite divisions, a majority of committee members including Katrin Kallsberg, Sonja Jógvansdóttir, Óluva Klettskarð and Djóni N. Joensen recommended the parliament pass the bill. Members of the committee in the minority, such as Kaj Leo Johannesen, Jenis av Rana and Jógvan á Lakjuni recommended the Løgting reject the bill.[15]

The second reading of the bill was held on 16 March 2016.[16] There was not a majority for the proposal, as two members from the coalition; Kristin Michelsen and Heðin Mortensen of the Social Democratic Party said that they could not vote yes for the proposal at that point, and suggested that the bill be sent back to the Welfare Committee. They and several other members of the Løgting raised concerns that the legislation would mandate a right to same-sex marriages in the Church of the Faroe Islands.

Following a short break the 26 members of the Løgting voted to send the bill back to the committee, only 2 members opposed and 5 abstained.[17][18][19] During debate several conservative members who had vocally stated their opposition against same-sex partnership in the past, stated they would support legalizing registered partnerships for same-sex couples.

Some members of the Løgting raised concerns about §14, 2 of the Marriage Law of Denmark, which stated that couples who have a civil marriage may have their marriage blessed by the church.[20] In response to this concern, the Welfare Committee later moved an amendment stating that the proposed new marriage law in the Faroe Islands would not be implemented by the Løgting before § 14,2 has been either deleted or refrased by the Danish Parliament.[20]

Passage in the Løgting in April 2016[edit]

The bill returned to the Løgting in its amended form for a second reading on 26 April 2016.[21] Debate began at 11am and concluded well after midnight on 27 April. During debate Heðin Mortensen of the Social Democratic Party introduced a proposal to conduct a referendum on the subject, which precipitated a crisis in the coalition government.[22][23] During a 90-minute break in proceedings, Mortensen engaged in high-level talks on the matter with the prime minister and other members of the Løgting. He eventually withdrew his proposal, telling Kringvarp Føroya that he would not risk dividing or even possibly dissolving the coalition government.[24]

A few minutes later a vote was held on the bill's second reading, resulting in 19 votes in favour of the bill for and 14 against. Every Government MP, Independent MP Sonja Jógvansdóttir, and two Opposition MPs (Magni Laksáfoss and Edmund Joensen of the Union Party) voted yes.[25][26][27] The bill was approved in its third reading on 29 April, again by a 19–14 vote.[28][29][30] At this point a vote was held on a proposal for a referendum on the subject, though it was defeated in a 16–17 vote.[31]

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Marriage
  Foreign marriages recognized
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Unrecognized
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples

29 April 2016 vote in the Parliament of the Faroe Islands[32]
Party Voted for Voted against
 G  Social Democratic Party
 G  Republic
     People's Party
     Union Party
 G  Progress
     Centre Party
     New Self-Government Party
     Independent*
Total 19 14

Additional legislation and commencement in 2017[edit]

The Faroese bill required amendments to Danish marriage law to be enacted by the Danish Parliament. The bill to this effect was introduced to the Danish Parliament on 8 February 2017[33][34] and had its first reading on 28 February 2017.[35][36] The relevant parliamentary committee approved the bill on 4 April, and the second reading was held on 20 April 2017.[37][38] The bill passed the third and final reading on 25 April 2017, by a vote of 108–0, with 71 abstentions.[39] The bill received royal assent on 3 May 2017.[40][33][41] On 30 May 2017 the Løgting passed the legislation, which exempts the Church of the Faroe Islands from obligation to perform same-sex marriages, by a vote of 18–14 with no abstentions.[42][43] Finally, a Danish royal decree formally necessary to give effect to the initial Løgting decision of 29 April 2016, was issued on 12 June 2017 and published on 16 June 2017.[44] Same-sex marriage has been available from 1 July 2017, the date the law came into effect.[45]

Public opinion[edit]

A May 2013 Gallup survey found that 68% of Faroese people supported same-sex civil marriage, 27% were against and 5% undecided.[46][47]

Another poll conducted in May 2014 found that regional divisions were significant in attitudes towards same-sex marriage, despite its overall results is similar to previous polls (62% support, 28% opposition, 10% undecided): respondents in Norðoyar and Eysturoy showed 42% and 48% support, respectively, and were less likely to support same-sex marriage than those in Suðurstreymoy, for example, which is near the capital Tórshavn and which showed 76% support towards same-sex marriage.[48]

Another poll conducted in August 2014 found that out of 600 respondents, 61% supported same-sex marriage, 32% opposed it, while the rest were undecided.[49]

A poll conducted by Gallup Føroyar in April 2016, requested by Kringvarp Føroya and Miðlahúsið (Sosialurin, in.fo and Rás2), asked respondents whether they support the proposal that would legalize civil same-sex-marriage. 64% were in favour. The support decreases with an increasing age. For young people between 18 and 24, as many as 79% said yes. While for people who are 60 or above, it was divided into 53% who are in favor and 40% who are against.[50] The capital area, Suðurstreymoy, had the largest support of those who said yes with 79%, while the largest part of the people who are against came from Norðoyar and Eysturoy, which showed 45% and 42% in opposition, respectively. A majority of voters from most political parties support same-sex marriage. The largest majority of voters supporting same-sex marriage are Progress voters with 89%, followed by Republic voters with 83%, 75% of Social Democratic Party voters and 62% of Self-Government Party voters. 50% of both the Union Party and the People's Party voters also support same-sex marriage. The Centre Party voters are the only notable exception, with only 16% of voters supporting same-sex marriage, while 84% are against.[51][52]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (in Faroese)51/2013 Uppskot til ríkislógartilmæli um at seta í gildi fyri Føroyar partar av broytingum í hjúnabandslógini og rættarvirknaðarlógini við tilhoyrandi skjølum
  2. ^ (in Faroese) 52/2013 Uppskot til ríkislógartilmæli um broyting í rættargangslógini fyri Føroyar
  3. ^ (in Faroese) 53/2013 Uppskot til ríkislógartilmæli um broyting í “Anordning om ikrafttræden for Færøerne af lov om ægteskabs indgåelse og opløsning”
  4. ^ (in Danish) Færøerne klar til homovielser – og så ikke alligevel
  5. ^ Faroe Islands: Equal marriage bill voted down
  6. ^ (in Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 51 Viðgerð: 2
  7. ^ (in Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 52 Viðgerð: 2
  8. ^ (in Faroese) Løgtingssetan 2013 Mál: 53 Viðgerð: 2
  9. ^ Gay marriage in focus as Faroe Islands votes
  10. ^ Uppskot at broyta hjúnabandslógina latið tinginum
  11. ^ (in Faroese) 19/2015 Uppskot til rikislógartilmæli um at seta í gildi fyri Føroyar partar av broytingum í hjúnabandslógini og rættarvirknaðarlógini
  12. ^ (in Faroese) Dagsskráin 2015 – Týsdagur, 24. November 2015, kl. 10:00
  13. ^ a b Magnason, Svein (26 February 2016). "Nú kemur álitið um hjúnabandslógina" (in Faroese). Kringvarp Føroya. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  14. ^ Gregersen, Árni (9 March 2016). "Málið um samkynd ikki klárt enn" (in Faroese). in.fo. Retrieved 11 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "Álit í løgtingsmáli nr. 19/2015: Uppskot til ríkislógartilmæli um at seta í gildi fyri Føroyar partar av broytingum í hjúnabandslógini og rættarvirknaðarlógini" (PDF) (in Faroese). Logting.fo. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  16. ^ Gaard, Heini (15 March 2016). "Lagnan hjá hjúnabandslógini avgjørd mikudagin" (in Faroese). Kringvarp Føroya. Retrieved 15 March 2016. 
  17. ^ Johannesen, Johnsigurd (16 March 2016). "Hjúnabandslógin aftur í Trivnaðarnevndina" (in Faroese). in.fo. Retrieved 16 March 2016. 
  18. ^ Bjerregaard, Morten; Christiansen, Michael Ørtz (16 March 2016). "Færøsk lagting køber sig tid – stemmer homovielser tilbage i udvalg". DR (in Danish). Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  19. ^ Rana, Danjal av (16 March 2016). "Setur sítt álit á Sambandsflokkin" (in Faroese). in.fo. Retrieved 16 March 2016. 
  20. ^ a b Løwe, Beinta (28 March 2016). "Hjúnabandslógin úr nevnd áðrenn summarferiuna" (in Faroese). Kringvarp Føroya. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  21. ^ Hjúnabandslógin til viðgerðar aftur týsdagin
  22. ^ Holm, Barbara (26 April 2016). "- Føli meg hóttan av samgonguni" (in Faroese). in.fo. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  23. ^ Gregersen, Árni (27 April 2016). "Drama í Løgtingnum í nátt" (in Faroese). Ting.fo. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  24. ^ Johannesen, Uni Holm (27 April 2016). "»Eg ofraði meg sjálvan – eina løtu, í øllum førum«" (in Faroese). Kringvarp Føroya. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  25. ^ Gregersen, Árni (27 April 2016). "Uppskot um at samkynd kunnu giftast samtykt" (in Faroese). in.fo. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  26. ^ "Faroe Islands approves same-sex unions". EUobserver. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  27. ^ W, Christian (28 April 2016). "Faroe Islands on the cusp of same-sex marriage". The Copenhagen Post. Archived from the original on 28 April 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  28. ^ "Faroe Islands legalizes same-sex marriage". Local.fo. 29 April 2016. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016. 
  29. ^ Rawles, Timothy (29 April 2016). "Faroe Islands legalizes same-sex marriage". San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  30. ^ Rahaman, Shifa (1 May 2016). "Faroe Islands says yes to same-sex marriage". The Copenhagen Post. Archived from the original on 2 May 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  31. ^ "Atkvøtt um fólkaatkvøðu og hjúnabandslógina". ting.fo. 29 April 2016. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016. 
  32. ^ "Partar av broytingum í hjúnabandslógini og rættarvirknaðarlógini – Voting results (3rd Reading)" (in Faroese). 29 April 2016. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2016. 
  33. ^ a b "L 129 Forslag til lov om ændring af lov for Færøerne om rettens pleje" (in Danish). Folketing. 8 February 2017. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  34. ^ "Danir fara at eftirlíka ynskinum úr Føroyum". in.fo (in Faroese). Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  35. ^ Joensen, Kaj (28 February 2017). "Vejen banes for homoseksuelle vielser på Færøerne". Sermitsiaq.AG (in Danish). Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  36. ^ Nørrelund Sørensen, Helle (1 March 2017). "Udsigt til homoseksuelle vielser på Færøerne". Kalaallit Nunaata Radioa (in Danish). Archived from the original on 5 March 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  37. ^ "L 129 – Betænkning afgivet af Færøudvalget den 4. april 2017" (in Danish). Folketing. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  38. ^ "L 129 – 2. behandling" (in Danish). Folketing. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  39. ^ "L 129 – Afstemning" (in Danish). Folketing. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  40. ^ "Lov om ændring af lov for Færøerne om rettens pleje (International kompetence i ægteskabssager)" (in Danish). Government of Denmark. Retrieved 5 May 2017. 
  41. ^ "Faroe Islands' Same-sex Marriage Bill Receives Royal Assent". The Perchy Bird Blog. 10 May 2017. 
  42. ^ "Gerðabók" (in Faroese). Løgting. Archived from the original on 3 June 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  43. ^ "Faroe Islands becomes 23rd country in the world to legalise gay marriage". LGBT Føroya. 30 May 2017. Archived from the original on 9 June 2017. 
  44. ^ "Anordning nr. 724 frá 12. juni 2017 om delvis ikrafttræden for Færøerne af lov om ægteskabs indgåelse og opløsning, lov om ægteskabets retsvirkninger og retsplejeloven og om ophævelse af lov om registreret partnerskab" (in Danish). Kunngerðablað B. Retrieved 12 July 2017. 
  45. ^ "1. juli 2017: Nú kunnu samkynd giftast". portal.fo. 1 July 2017. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. 
  46. ^ Poll: 68% approve of equal marriage in the Faroe Islands
  47. ^ Large majority agrees with civil marriage for homosexuals
  48. ^ http://www.nordlysid.fo/nordoyingar+og+eysturoyingar+ikki+heilt+sannfordir+um+borgarliga+vigslu+av+samkyndum.html
  49. ^ Faroe Islands poll: 61% support same-sex marriage
  50. ^ Lindenskov, Eirikur (21 April 2016). "Greiður meiriluti í øllum aldursbólkum sigur »ja«" (in Faroese). in.fo. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  51. ^ Jógvansdóttir, Sára (21 April 2016). "Kanning: 64 prosent fyri at broyta hjúnabandslóg" (in Faroese). Kringvarp Føroya. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  52. ^ Lindenskov, Eirikur (23 April 2016). "Samkynd giftast: Veljarar hjá seks flokkum siga ja" (in Faroese). in.fo. Retrieved 24 April 2016.