Opposition could force through gay marriage bill

Opposition could force through gay marriage bill
Sweden's opposition says it plans to force a bill legalizing gay marriage through parliament, in a move that would seize the initiative from the government and threaten to drive a wedge between the four governing parties.

A government inquiry last year proposed that the country allow same-sex couples to get married, instead of offering civil partnerships as at present. Of the seven parties in the current Swedish parliament, all but one are in favour of gay marriage, but the continued opposition of the Christian Democrats, one of the three smaller governing parties, makes acting on the issue difficult for the goverment.

The inquiry’s proposals were put out to consultation, with the consultation period ending on Tuesday. The Social Democrats, Greens and Left Parties say there is no excuse for further delay on the issue:

“We want to put more pressure on the government. They have had ten months,” said Social Democrat chairwoman of the Swedish Parliamentary Committee on Civil Affairs, Carina Moberg.

“We are prepared to steamroller the government,” Moberg said.

Christian Democrats slammed the opposition’s move to outflank the ruling parties:

“I think this is terribly immoral of the opposition. The consultation period ends today and it is our duty to consider the responses to the consultation,” said Christian Democrat member of the Civil Affairs Committee Yvonne Andersson.

The four ruling parties say they plan to negotiate a common position, but the government’s parliamentary majority of just seven means even a small rebellion by government MPs could allow the opposition motion to succeed.