Same-sex marriage in Sweden: Wikis


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Legal recognition of
same-sex couples
Same-sex marriage


South Africa

Performed in some jurisdictions

Mexico: DF*
United States: CT, DC*, IA, MA, NH, VT, Coquille

Recognized, not performed

United States: CA (conditional), NY

Civil unions and
registered partnerships

Czech Republic

New Caledonia
New Zealand
Wallis and Futuna
United Kingdom

Performed in some jurisdictions

Argentina: BA, RC, RN, VCP
Australia: ACT, TAS, VIC
Mexico: COA
United States: CA, CO, HI, ME, NJ, NV, OR, WA, WI
Venezuela: ME

Recognized, not performed

Isle of Man (UK only)

Unregistered co-habitation



In some regions

United States: MD, RI

Status in other jurisdictions

China (PRC)
ROC (Taiwan)
Congo (DRC)
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
European Union
Faroe Islands

Netherlands Antilles
South Korea

United States: AL, AS, AZ, DE, FL, GU, IL, LA, ME, MI, MN, MT, NM, NC, OH, PA, PR, RI, SC, UT, WV, WY, Native Americans


*DC (subject to Congressional review) and Mexico City same-sex marriage laws are effective from 1 March and 4 March 2010, respectively.

See also

Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage legislation
Timeline of same-sex marriage
Civil union
Domestic partnership
Registered partnership
Civil partnership
Listings by country

LGBT portal

Same-sex marriages in Sweden have been officially recognized since 1 May 2009, following the adoption of a new, gender-neutral law on marriage by the Swedish parliament on 1 April 2009,[1] making Sweden the seventh country in the world to open marriage to same sex couples nationwide. Existing registered partnerships will remain in force, and can be converted to a marriage if the parties so desire, either through a written application or through a formal ceremony. New registered partnerships will no longer be able to be entered into and marriage will be the only legally recognized form of union for couples regardless of sex.

On 22 October 2009, the governing board of the Church of Sweden, voted 176–62[2] in favour of allowing its priests to wed same-sex couples in new gender-neutral church ceremonies, including the use of the term marriage.[3][4] Same-sex marriages in the church will be available starting 1 November 2009.[5]



Registered partnership in Sweden was introduced in 1995. In August 2006, a parliamentary committee described the civil union law as outdated and recommended that the government allow full same-sex marriage. In January 2007, the committee recommended allowing same-sex marriage, with the caveat that individual officials of religious institutions holding a license to perform legally binding marriages should be exempt from performing such marriages if they are against it. In March 2007, the Lutheran Church of Sweden announced that it approves of same-sex marriage.[6] The Church already performs blessings of civil unions. However, the Church will not use the term äktenskap ("matrimony") as it believes this word should be reserved for marriage between a man and a woman. A government report published later in March 2007, written by former Chancellor of Justice Hans Regner, proposed that marriage be extended to same-sex couples.[7]

In the Swedish parliament there is an overwhelming majority for legalizing same-sex marriages. Only one party of the seven that hold seats in parliament, the Christian Democrat Party, opposes legalizing same-sex marriages. The parties in the parliament presented in order of size and their opinion of same-sex marriages:

Vote for the same sex marriage

Party In favour Seats in the Riksdag Position
Social Democratic Party Yes 130 Opposition
Moderate Party Yes 97 Coalition partner in the government
Centre Party Yes 29 Coalition partner in the government
Liberal People's Party Yes 28 Coalition partner in the government
Christian Democratic Party No 24 Coalition partner in the government
Left Party Yes 22 Opposition
Green Party Yes 19 Opposition
Final Verdict Member of Riksdag
  • 261
  • 22
  • 16
  • 50

The government consists of the Moderate Party, the Centre Party, the Liberal People's Party, and the Christian Democratic Party. The Swedish Minister of Justice, Beatrice Ask, who has responsibility for this matter, reacted positively when the commission presented its result. The Moderate Party's leader and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is a liberal on matters pertaining to LGBT rights, voting for civil unions in 1994 when the mother party said no. How the legalising would end was not clear; one of the coalition partners is against the legalising. The leader of the Social Democratic Party had said that she would put forward a bill in the parliament itself if the government cannot unite in this matter.

In early October 2007, the Green Party, Left Party and Social Democratic Party said they would join forces to introduce an opposition motion in parliament to legalize same-sex marriage.

On 27 October 2007, the Moderate Party formally backed same-sex marriages, meaning that the Christian Democrats, who are also in the coalition with the governing Moderate Party, would be the only party to oppose the law. Göran Hägglund, who is the leader of the Christian Democrats, stated on Swedish Radio, "My position is that I have been tasked by the party to argue that marriage is for men and women. ... When we discuss it between parties we are naturally open and sensitive to each other's arguments and we'll see if we can find a line that allows us to come together."[8]

On 12 December 2007, the Church of Sweden gave the green light for same-sex couples to wed in the church, but recommended the term marriage be restricted to opposite-sex couples. It was asked by the Government for its opinion on the matter before the introduction of legislation in early 2008. "Marriage and (same-sex) partnerships are equivalent forms of unions. Therefore the Church of Sweden's central board says yes to the proposal to join the legislation for marriages and partnerships into a single law," the Church said in a statement. "According to the Church of Sweden's board the word 'marriage' should however only be used for the relationship between a woman and a man," it said.[9]

On 14 January 2008, two leading politicians in the Christian Democrats took a position against the party and started to support same-sex marriage.[10]

Reports suggested the Government would table its same-sex marriage bill in early 2008, however, they had yet to propose a bill as of October 2008. This was likely due to the Christian Democrats' opposition from within the four-party centre-right governing coalition despite their being the only party opposing the move. After negotiations on a compromise broke down and facing a parliamentary ultimatum[11] in late October 2008, the government prepared to present its bill to a free vote.

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe      Same-sex marriage      Other type of partnership      Unregistered cohabitation      Issue under political consideration      Unrecognized      Constitution limits marriage to man–woman

On 21 January 2009, a bill was introduced in the Swedish parliament to make the legal concept of marriage gender-neutral. The bill was passed on 1 April and took effect on 1 May.[12] The bill was supported by all parties except the Christian Democrats (Kristdemokraterna), a small traditionalist party within the governing coalition.[13] It passed with 261 votes in favour, 22 votes against and 16 abstentions.[14]

Church of Sweden

On 22 October 2009, the assembly of the Church of Sweden (which is no longer officially the national church but whose assent was needed for the new practice to work smoothly within its ranks) voted strongly in favour of giving its blessing to same-sex marriages,[4] including the use of the term marriage. It is the first major church in Sweden to take this position on same-sex marriage.[15] Archbishop of Uppsala Anders Wejryd commented that he was pleased with the decision.[2] The second and third largest Christian denominations in the country, the Roman Catholic church and the Pentecostalist Movement of Sweden, commented that they were "disappointed" by the Lutherans' decision.[5]

Court challenge

On 12 May 2008, media sources reported that a married gay couple from Canada is challenging the Swedish Government in Federal Court, because it refused to recognize their relationship as a marriage.[16] Although a lower court – including the Court of Appeals – refused to hear the case, Sweden's highest court, the Supreme Administrative Court, agreed to accept the challenge. The couple argued that a same-sex marriage entered into in accordance with Canadian law should be recognized in Sweden, despite the fact that there is no legal basis for it under current Swedish law. On 18 December 2008, the Court ruled that the Swedish Tax Authority did not break any rules as the definition of marriage under Swedish law is the union of one man and one woman, and that same-sex relationships are to be recognized as a civil partnership.[17]

Opinion polls

A poll conducted by Angus Reid Global Monitor in autumn 2006 regarding European Union integration and attitudes on social issues, found Sweden with the second largest public approval ratings regarding the legalisation of same-sex marriage. It found that 71% of Swedes regarded same-sex marriage as a viable option in the near future[18]; it was eventually legalized in 2009.

See also


  1. ^ Gays Win Marriage Rights Sveriges Radio English, 1 April 2009
  2. ^ a b Church of Sweden Priests to Wed Gay Couples in Gender-Neutral Ceremonies, Fox News, October 22, 2009.
  3. ^ Church of Sweden to conduct gay weddings, UPI, October 22, 2009.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b Sweden's Lutheran church to celebrate gay weddings, AFP via Google News, October 22, 2009.
  6. ^ Swedish bishops say yes to gay church weddings
  7. ^ Inquiry gives green light to gay marriage
  8. ^ "6 of 7 Swedish Parties Back Gay Marriage". 2007-10-28.  
  9. ^ "Church of Sweden approves gay marriage law". The Local. 2007-12-07.  
  10. ^ "Kd-politiker går mot partiet". (Dagens Nyheter). 2008-01-14.  
  11. ^ Government rules out gay marriage compromise
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Gays Win Marriage Rights, Sveriges Radio English, 1 April 2009
  15. ^ Filks, Ilze (Oct 22, 2009). "Swedish church to allow gay marriages". Reuters.  
  16. ^ "Gay Couple Sues Swedish Government for Recognition". 365Gay. 2008-05-12. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16.  
  17. ^ High court rejects gay priest marriage case
  18. ^ "Eight EU countries back same-sex marriage". Retrieved 2008-05-15.  

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