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Iceland’s PM marries under new matrimony law

Apropos the last post, our Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and her spouse Jónína Leósdóttir got married today.

According to RÚV, they are among the first gay couples to legally marry under the new matrimony laws that took effect today. No formal ceremony is said to have taken place, though.

I had dinner with a group of European journalists last Friday [sponsored by the European Union – amx, are you listening?] and the people at our table were marvelling at the fact that the sexual orientation of our prime minister is a non-issue here in Iceland. They said that this would never be the case in their respective countries.

Personally I can’t envision how a person’s sexual preference could possibly be held against them in politics. I mean, on what grounds would you criticize someone’s political decisions because they’re gay?

But they’re right — Jóhanna’s sexual orientation has never been an issue here in Iceland. It’s just doesn’t figure in the general discourse. Part of it, I suppose, is that she herself has never flaunted it — she’s openly gay and everyone knows it, but she’s never used it to challenge convention or held it up as a particular cause. She just goes about her business like everyone else.

And so, big congratulations to Jóhanna and Jónína on their wedding day!

Comments

comments

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  • Tom Harper June 27, 2010, 9:27 pm

    ADORABLE! Good for them, and good for Iceland. Again, you all have made me proud to be an Icelandophile =)

  • Luna_Sea June 27, 2010, 11:49 pm

    Excellent! There is so much to love about Iceland.

  • Michael Schulz June 28, 2010, 12:45 am

    Well then: so what!?
    Cheers,
    M.

  • Joerg June 28, 2010, 1:00 am

    Congratulations for this display of an open minded society. It’s definitely one more reason to love Iceland.

  • Zig June 28, 2010, 1:40 am

    Surprisingly Pim Fortuyn was an Openly Gay far-right politician in the Netherlands, and he was pretty popular. He was also assassinated, but not because he was gay, rather his views on Islam :S.

  • gloria June 28, 2010, 2:15 am

    Those of us who live in oppressive societies marvel at the non-issue of Johanna’s sexual orientation in Iceland. It’s what first got me interested in Iceland, and I still marvel at it, especially when I see how “normal” the Icelanders are in engaging in petty issues in other life arenas.

    In my country people are still murdered for being gay, and we are denied the civil and legal rights heterosexual people have. A gay couple can live as domestic partners for decades, own a home together, and, if one dies, the other can end up paying 55% gift tax on the other half of the house they owned together. Our top leaders, both civilian and military, still debate whether or not openly gay people have the right to die for their country (even though they have been doing it as along as people have been dying), and whether or not their legally sanctioned right to die for their country will keep OTHER people from wanting to die for their country. Where I live, gay people are not allowed to legally adopt children, no matter how much the child needs love and care, and no matter how much the would-be parents have to give.

    My oppressive country? USA, of course. And the backwards state? Florida, of course.

    So I say, go Iceland! And go Johanna and Jonina!

  • Peter - London/Krakow June 28, 2010, 8:49 am

    Well, some might object to politicians creating a law for their own personal benefit. Furthermore, banning lap dancing and legalising gay marriage sounds like forcing your morals on others.

    What would be the response to the opposite – banning Gay marriage and legitimising lap dancing? Outrage of course.

  • alda June 28, 2010, 10:15 am

    Well, some might object to politicians creating a law for their own personal benefit

    Jóhanna did not propose the amendment. It didn’t even come from her own party.

    As for Iceland not being liberal because it banned lap dancing (as per your comment to the last post) I would argue that Iceland is indeed very liberal for banning lap dancing. Lap dancing essentially serves the patriarchal regime, which by and large oppresses women. Banning it is a step in liberating women.

  • Michael Lewis June 28, 2010, 10:27 am

    I have to say, given her circumstances (according to Wikipedia she has two sons) she may have forgone the formality or a civil partnership, in case it caused them embarassment.

    Alda, I appreciate Iceland is not a cricketing nation and few of its people play the game. However, I did’t think that my cricketing euphemism about Jóhanna’s batting was nothing more than a wry remark, certainly not offensive. I’m not sure what happened to that comment.

    I’m sure we all wish the happy couple the best in the civil partnership.

  • Peter - London/Krakow June 28, 2010, 2:43 pm

    “Lap dancing essentially serves the patriarchal regime, which by and large oppresses women. Banning it is a step in liberating women.”

    So are lap dancers (and I assume there were lap dancers in Iceland for the ban to be needed) pleased about being liberated from their well paying jobs? Were they provided equally well paying jobs to compensate them or did they simply emigrate to find work?

    I have no doubt the ban fits your agenda and morals but the fact is not everyone (men and women) thinks the same way and by enforcing this rule you have removed the right of women to earn a lucrative living doing what they want (and apparently) enjoy doing.

    Its not liberal to remove the right of women to do as they please and earn a living as they want; call it social engineering or puritanism instead.

  • sylvia hikins June 28, 2010, 2:48 pm

    Legalising Gay partnerships is all about sexual liberation. Lap dancing and other pay for sex activities is nothing to do with sexual liberation.
    Congratulations Iceland for getting it, and getting it right.
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Larsson June 28, 2010, 3:38 pm

    As a gay person I’m really glad about this news from Iceland.
    As for the debate on lap dancing, banning it is pure moralism, the same type that made people ban homosexuality in the past. Not being able to let other people make their own decisions about their own lives and bodies. The truth is that the Nordic countries are very conservative and not near as open-minded and liberal as a lot of outsiders believe. I am Swedish and here the decision to criminalize the purchase of sex has lead to the worsening of the working conditions of prostitutes – banning the buying of sex doesn’t mean that prostitution will go away, of course. So what I think needed to be done is anything that improved their working conditions, which would have been more legalization and regulation, bringing it out into the open so that the prostitutes aren’t put in the more dangerous situations they are put in now due to the whole thing being driven further underground because the men are afraid of being caught.
    Viewing the prostitute as a victim and mentally ill disempowers him/her to demand a right to safe working conditions.
    Equating all prostitution with human trafficking and banning it makes it even harder to fight human trafficking and clean up the messy aspects of prostitution as it exists today in our societies.
    I think the same thing goes for the lapdance ban in Iceland. Pure moralism and a step backwards, not forwards. Forwards would have been unionizing strippers and making sure they got good pay and making sure to monitor their working conditions and gaining a good working relationship between all parties involved so that cases of trafficking and forced labor are brought out into the open and dealt with. Basically it’s about treating them like people of equal worth, not looking down on them for their job, which just reinforces the whole patriarchal oppression of women in the first place.

  • Easy June 28, 2010, 4:10 pm

    I think Peter-London might have a point, I mean “yeah!! we are so “open minded” yeepy yeepy we love gay people, that make us sooo cool” what?? if we are so open minded why banning lap dancers, but allowing gay marrige, I belive thats a double moral standard, I don’t think everybody agrees with banning lap dances and not everybody agrees with gay marrige, but today people that don’t accept gay marrige are considerd “old fashoned” or from “the stone age” so nooo we don’t want to be that, we want to be “in” not “out”, I mean in Holland they allow prostitution and marihuana, does that mean they are more “open minded” than us? are they “cooler”? we better hurry and legislate on that too. No, wait… untill they don´t legislate on that we can say that those kind of things are too liberal, and promote crime and violence, once they do it, then we can say its because we are open minded. If we are so open minded, so.. well, they legalized gay marrige, good for them, they will have the rights they were looking for, things will be more fare for them, thats all, why would the nation be so happy?? By the way, if somebody is gay I don’t judge, if he/she is straight I don’t judge, if some body liks to go get a lap dance I dont judge if he/she doesn’t like it I dont judge, or if a girl wants to be a streeper i don’t judge, taht’s beeing open minded, and not judging doesn’t mean not caring

  • Easy June 28, 2010, 4:24 pm

    Just read Lrsson’s comment, He could have not said it better.

    and about this:”Forwards would have been unionizing strippers and making sure they got good pay and making sure to monitor their working conditions and gaining a good working relationship between all parties involved so that cases of trafficking and forced labor are brought out into the open and dealt with”.

    This is exactly what i ment when I talked about judging and caring in my previous post, We can agree or desagree with what this girls or guys are doing(lap dancing, streeping, etc) We won’t judge them BUT we care for them so we provide rules and laws to protect them protect their incomes and provide for them options for them to work or study, orientation, etc. That is beeing open minded and when we get to that point we will be an open minded nation.

  • Peter - London/Krakow June 28, 2010, 5:23 pm

    Please remember that lap dancing is not prostitution. There is no touching involved and its should be strictly controlled. AFAIK, its doesn’t always include nudity and is performing in a titillating manner in order to extract money form men and women who are befuddled with alcohol. Actors and actresses do worse on film (not pornographic one that is), is it ok for them to do so simply because they get paid millions?

  • Natalie June 28, 2010, 8:07 pm

    GO Jóhanna and Jónína! Wish them nothing but happiness. I am going to celebrate for them. Drinks on me!!

  • Regina Hardardottir June 28, 2010, 9:53 pm

    Don’t know why it comes to my mind as being relevant in this context, I am so proud that professional boxing is forbidden in Iceland. Please excuse me for changing the subject.

  • Larsson June 30, 2010, 4:10 am

    I don’t know how this is relevant either, but my boyfriend’s estranged parents are very proud that homosexuality is illegal in Iran, their country, where he had to flee from.
    Please excuse me for changing the subject further.

  • angeliki June 30, 2010, 9:01 pm

    >>>I don’t know how this is relevant either, but my boyfriend’s estranged parents are very proud that homosexuality is illegal in Iran, their country, where he had to flee from.
    Please excuse me for changing the subject further.<<<

    And this is why I thank God I was born in backward Greece but not Iran -firmly in Middle Ages…