• Sweden edition
 

Inquiry gives green light to gay marriage

Published: 21 Mar 2007 13:22 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Mar 2007 13:22 GMT+01:00

Presenting his report on Wednesday, Hans Regner, formerly Sweden's most senior government lawyer, said that gay couples should be able to wed and to be legally regarded as spouses. The current law permitting registered partnerships for same-sex couples should be revoked, he said.

Regner argued that the arguments in favour of changing the law outweighed the arguments against.

"We have to a large extent abolished discrimination against homosexuals. This is the last bastion," Regner told a press conference in Stockholm on Wednesday afternoon.

Regner said a new law should retain the word marriage (‘äktenskap’) rather than replacing it with a term such as partnership. Marriage has been the normal term for many centuries, and replacing it would be seen as unnecessary by many, he argued.

Churches and other faith groups should retain their right to conduct marriages, but the Church of Sweden will should no longer have the right as a matter of course.

"People attach great importance to the fact that their weddings have certain ceremonies, and that they are festive," he said.

In future, individual priests in the Church of Sweden should be forced to apply for the right to marry parishoners, just as is already the case for their counterparts in other churches and non-Christian religions in Sweden.

There would be no obligation under the proposals for priests to officiate at the weddings of gay couples. The report said that a requirement to do so would lead to many priests and other religious leaders giving up their right to conduct marriages. Such a development would lead in practice to a situation in which most weddings were conducted in civil ceremonies.

Regner admitted that the lack of an obligation on the part of religious groups to marry gay couples could lead to problems.

But. he said, "it is possible that certain priests and religious groups will marry homosexuals," he said, pointing to the Jewish Board of Deputies, which according to Regner sees no problem in carrying out gay marriages for members of the Jewish community.

The Church of Sweden has said that it intends to carry out legally binding ceremonies for gay couples, but that individual priests would be allowed to refuse to officiate.

However, Archbishop Anders Wejryd said on Wednesday that the church could issue a blanket refusal to carry out the ceremonies if a new law referred to the partnerships as marriage (äktenskap in Swedish).

Wejryd said that discussions within the church were still ongoing, but that the current line was that the word ‘marriage’ should be reserved for heterosexual partnerships.

Regner responded to the church's line by saying that "they can call things what they like. All this is about is what is said in the wedding ceremony," he said.

Unsurprisingly, the Roman Catholic Church in Sweden has said it will not wed gay couples, claiming that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

The church's Per Samuelsson wrote in a memorandum that the definition of marriage as a union of a man and a woman is shared by all major world cultures and belongs to "humanity's cultural inheritance." He added that marriage is a sacrament in the Catholic tradition.

Representatives of the Church of Sweden and the Swedish Mission Covenant Church had said in their submissions to the inquiry that the marriage act was not a sacrament in their traditions, although added that it has certain elements that resemble a sacrament.

Swedish gay rights organization RFSL slammed the proposal that priests could refuse to marry gay couples.

“They are proposing that it should be possible to discriminate. Churches and religious groups are to be allowed to refuse, and we are critical of that,” said chairman Sören Andersson.

“You can’t pick and choose from Swedish law,” he said.

The Left Party, Green Party and the youth wing of the Social Democratic Party agreed, saying that people licensed to officiate at weddings should have a duty to marry any couple legally allowed to wed, including gay couples.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

National
Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe
The ship was rescued on Thursday. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe

After fears a ship carrying around 52 tonnes of oil could sink in Stockholm's archipelago, Sweden's Coast Guard said the vessel had been towed to safety. READ  

National
Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal
A scene from a video of the attack published by Dagens Nyheter

Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal

A policewoman accused of letting her dog attack a drunk man while she repeatedly hit him with a baton, has had her conviction overturned by a court in Stockholm. READ  

Entertainment
What's On: October 31st - November 7th
Uma Thurman will soon be on her way to Stockholm. Photo: TT

What's On: October 31st - November 7th

Halloween fun and an international film festival are the big events hitting Stockholm this week. We cast our eye over the capital and the rest of the country for the best activities to check out this week. READ  

International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

National
Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

Politics
Palestine recognized as state by Sweden
Sweden's Foreign Minister is Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden

The Swedish government has officially decided to recognize Palestine, with the move announced in a speech by the country's new Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. READ  

Interview
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
For ten days, Globen is transformed into a giant pumpkin. Photo: Shockholm

Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween

American Bill Schacht missed the spooky outfits, family feasts and charity events he associated with Halloween when he moved to Sweden. So he did something about it. The Local meets the founder of the capital's annual Shockholm parade. READ  

Business & Money
Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall
A Vattenfall plant in Germany. Photo: TT

Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall

Swedish energy company Vattenfall has reported losses for the third quarter in a row. READ  

International
Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza
Malala receives the Children's Prize from Queen Silvia. Photo: TT

Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza

UPDATED: Girls' rights champion Malala Yousafzai, who was in Sweden to accept the World's Children's Prize on Wednesday, said she would use all her winnings to help rebuild schools in war-ravaged Gaza. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Blog updates

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

994
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN