Government remains divided over same-sex marriage

Government remains divided over same-sex marriage
Sweden’s Christian Democrats have refused to bend on the question of gender neutral marriage, forcing the government to submit a diluted marriage bill to the Riksdag with hopes that a same-sex marriage amendment will be added.

The three other parties that make up the ruling centre-right Alliance government had hoped that their Christian Democratic colleagues would agree to including language regarding gender neutral marriage in a comprehensive marriage bill.

“We haven’t had a common understanding among all the parties of the Alliance. I want to emphasize that I respect that there can be different opinions on these types of issues, despite the fact that it hasn’t been unclear how the majority feels,” said Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to Sveriges Radio.

“The Christian Democrats have repeatedly said they did not wish to register a reservation to the government’s bill and thus I’m trying to think like a results-oriented politician,” he added.

Christian Democratic leader Göran Hägglund said it was a disappointment and a failure that the government wasn’t able to reach an agreement on the issue and he criticized the other parties of the Alliance for providing so little room for negotiation.

Now the other parties must come together to submit an amendment to the government’s marriage bill, according to Moderate Party Riksdag member Tomas Tobé.

Tobé hopes that the government will soon present a marriage bill acceptable to the Christian Democrats.

But he doesn’t view the fact that the government has been forced to seek an amendment adding language about same-sex marriage as a failure.

“It’s a way to show respect for the Christian Democrats and the most important thing is to get the law in place,” he said.

Tobé is surprised that the Christian Democrats went as far as supporting a civil marriage law under which churches would be deprived of the right to perform legally-recognized marriage ceremonies.

But he added that such a model lacks any public support.

“Most people want to be able to go to church and get married,” he said.

Centre Party leader Maud Olofsson also wanted to see the government unite around a common proposal.

“It’s still gratifying that we are now in agreement about how we will deal with the issue,” she said in a statement.

“The basic value of everyone’s equal rights and worth has been the starting point for the Centre Party’s position. Therefore we’re happy now that the new legislation gives love equal value and provides the same opportunities for everyone to get also be married in a church,” she said.