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Happy Day to gays and lesbians in Iceland!

As many readers will know, Iceland recently approved new conjugal laws that put gay and lesbian couples on par with straight people when it comes to marriage.

That new law takes effect today and as far as I know there is at least one wedding planned and Samtökin 78, the Gay and Lesbian union in Iceland, are holding a “rainbow service” in Fríkirkjan this evening.

It’s been a long time coming. Iceland passed a law in 1996 that allowed gays and lesbians to enter into confirmed cohabitation, which gave them many of the same rights as married straight couples. Subsequent amendments allowed them to adopt, lesbian couples to undergo assisted pregnancies, etc. However, they did not have the right to be married in the National Church, or the right to use the official term “married” — until now.

It’s been a hot potato issue and very controversial within the church. The Bishop over Iceland, Hr. Karl Sigurbjörnsson, yesterday apologized publicly to gays and lesbians for a comment that he made in an interview in 2006, where he said that allowing gays and lesbians to marry was akin to “trashing” the institution of marriage. A great number of ministers in the church openly opposed this view and lobbied for the law to be changed — which was finally done a couple of weeks ago.

And so, this is a happy day for gays and lesbians in Iceland. For myself, I am delighted and proud to live in such an open-minded and liberal society. Til hamingju með daginn samkynhneigðir!

Comments

comments

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  • sapphire June 27, 2010, 1:53 pm

    It would be nice to see that “equality” in America included gays and lesbians too. Sadly, we are still many years away from that.

    Celebrate Icelanders for living in such a free society. That’s why I love Sweden too.

  • Tom Harper June 27, 2010, 1:56 pm

    Þakka þér kærlega fyrir, Alda! Ég er svo spenntur og nú viljum við kærastinn minn gifta okkur á Ísland!

  • Tom Harper June 27, 2010, 1:56 pm

    á Íslandi*

  • sylvia hikins June 27, 2010, 4:33 pm

    This is why I love Iceland so much. In spite of the inward looking power struggles of the old guard there is this strong sense of progressive liberalness that comes from the ordinary citizens. Tolerance and freedom sit side by side. Congratulations Niceland.
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Michael June 28, 2010, 1:55 am

    Out of curiosity, how do homosexual couples name their opposite gender children under Icelandic naming conventions?

    Good luck to the new couples.

  • Tom Harper June 28, 2010, 10:11 am

    Michael,

    Opposite gender wouldn’t matter in Icelandic naming conventions. Traditionally, both sons and daughters take a patronym (as in constructed from the father’s name). How they choose who the “father” is is another story I suppose. I believe you are allowed to have matro/patronyms under Icelandic law, though, so conceivably children could bear names constructed from both parents’ names.

  • Michael June 28, 2010, 11:24 am

    Thank you, I was under the impression that sons took their father’s name and daughters their mother’s.

  • alda June 28, 2010, 11:29 am

    Sorry Michael, I was about to get to your question, but Tom was way ahead of me!

  • Natalie June 28, 2010, 7:52 pm

    America and some other countries can definitely learn from Iceland. And to actually have a country that respects people, no matter of their sexual orientation, AWESOME! thats why I adore Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. (even though I can’t pronounce her surname)
    Don’t be afraid of who you are, be proud. 😉

  • Alexander E. June 28, 2010, 9:48 pm

    «The Bishop over Iceland, Hr. Karl Sigurbjörnsson, yesterday apologized publicly to gays and lesbians for a comment that he made in an interview in 2006,»

    I didn’t get it.
    Why should the Bishop apologize to whoever? He speak his mind and believes. Or did he loose his right to speak his mind? I assume “tolerance” is a two way road. Otherwise I’m against such a “progress”.

  • Sigrún Hanna June 30, 2010, 1:04 am

    I assume that whether he had changed his mind about the issue or not, he probably realized that it’s better for the church to accept same-sex marriage and therefor gain following, than continue to condemn it and lose members of the church. He still has the right to speak his mind, that is definitely not what this is about.

    All in all, I think this is a great progress! 🙂
    Hooray for the Bishop and all the people he made happy with his statement! ^^