Gay Marriage in Norway

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.

Registered partnerships were granted virtually all the protections, responsibilities and benefits of marriage, including arrangements for the breakdown of the relationship.

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. On 1 January 2002, however, registered partners were allowed to adopt their partner’s children.

In 2002, Reuters reported that around 150 couples registered their partnerships each year. One of the more notable people to register a relationship was former Finance Minister Per-Kristian Foss.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.

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, the Church of Norway allowed marriages.

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”.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Same-sex marriage in Norway, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.