• Sweden edition
 
Find thousands of like-minded foreign professionals living in Sweden, just like you.

Sweden sets date for gay church weddings

Published: 06 Nov 2008 10:17 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Nov 2008 10:17 GMT+01:00

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has said Sweden may allow homosexuals to marry in the Church of Sweden from May 2009 pending the adoption of a new law.

While heterosexuals in Sweden can choose to marry in either a civil ceremony or a church ceremony, homosexuals are only allowed to register their partnerships in a civil ceremony. But this could all change should parliament pass legislation due to be presented shortly

"Sweden could have a gender neutral marriage law by May 1, 2009," Reinfeldt told Swedish Radio.

Civil unions granting gays and lesbians the same legal status as married couples have been allowed in Sweden since 1995.

If the new legislation is adopted, Sweden, already a pioneer in giving same-sex couples the right to adopt children, would become the first country in the world to allow gays to marry within a major church.

The Lutheran Church, which was separated from the state in 2000, has since January 2007 offered gays a religious blessing of their union. It has previously said it wants the word "marriage" reserved for heterosexual unions.

Pastors who do not want to perform a gay wedding ceremony may however have the right to refuse, something gay rights' activists have criticized.

In 2007, 74 percent of Swedes were members of the Lutheran Church.

Sweden's four-party centre-right government has been split on the issue, with the junior partner Christian Democrats also opposed to the use of the word "marriage" for homosexual unions.

However the three other parties, the conservative Moderates, the Liberals and the Centre Party, are in favour of a gender neutral law that eliminates the current reference to marriage as something between a man and a woman.

The opposition Social Democrats, the country's biggest party, also support such a law, and together the parties would garner enough support to adopt the legislation in parliament.

The issue has been a tricky one for Reinfeldt and the leader of the Christian Democrats, Göran Hägglund.

"The coalition government has agreed that we will present a basic marriage bill to parliament. The three parties in favour of a gender neutral marriage law will then present an accompanying motion seeking to have such a law in place by May 1, 2009," Reinfeldt said.

Hägglund said he was disappointed the coalition had failed to reach a compromise, telling news agency TT "there should have been a way to find a joint agreement."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Dating in Sweden
 
Looking for a date? As a gift to our readers this Valentine’s Day, we’ve launched a new online dating service for expats just like you.
 
The Local offers ten tips to landing a date with a Swede, the perfect recipe for any hopefuls still dateless on Valentine's Day. Or any day. From dressing to drinking, language to loving - it's all here. Good luck.
 
Although sales of some goods have been hard hit by the recession, love is not among of them. The financial crisis has led more and more Swedes to look for love online, making them among the most internet-dating inclined nationalities in the world, according to Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.
 
Tying the knot always comes with a certain degree of risk, but the chances of success are hopefully greater than those of playing roulette or Black Jack.
 
Even in Sweden, a country with traditionally liberal views about sexuality, fetishism has long been considered a taboo subject. But as The Local’s Rami Abdelrahman discovered recently, it appears that fetishism is finding a mainstream foothold in Swedish society.
 
As American blogger Kommissarie F. Curiosa prepares to wrap up her almost seven-year sojourn in Sweden, she shares her revised reflections on Swedish mating and dating with The Local. This guide may not help you find your Swedish Valentine, but it might just shed some light on the tantalizing mystery known as the strong, silent Nordic type.
 
With Valentine's Day fast approaching, AFP's Nina Larson witnesses wedding ceremonies performed in a Swedish winter wonderland.
 
Every week, we ask a regular panel of readers to discuss a particular aspect of life in Sweden. This week: moving to Sweden for love.
 
Swedish singles prefer a quiet night in on New Year's Eve while their Danish neighbours plump for a night on the tiles, a new survey of European attitudes to pleasure has shown.
 
Researchers in Sweden studying personal ads have found more evidence to support the old cliche that men like younger women, and women prefer older men.
 
Microsoft billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates is in Gothenburg this weekend to attend the wedding of billionaire Charles Simonyi and Swedish socialite Lisa Persdotter.
 
Ask The Local:I have been in a relationship with a Swedish guy for the past five years and moved here for him three years ago, but unfortunately we are now breaking up. I know nothing about Swedish law and am worried about getting a fair deal with regards to the division of our property etc as we weren't married. What should I expect?
 
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has said Sweden may allow homosexuals to marry in the Church of Sweden from May 2009 pending the adoption of a new law.
 
Two young women from Sweden tied the knot at the weekend in the first known lesbian "marriage" near India's famed Taj Mahal, newspapers said on Monday.
 
Judging by the number of column inches devoted to the subject in recent months, one would be forgiven for thinking that partner-swapping had become the noughties equivalent of the Tupperware party. But is swinging really Sweden’s new favourite hobby?