AFP/UPI: Norway adopts gay marriage law

Source: AFP

11 June 2008

Norway adopts gay marriage law

OSLO (AFP) — Norway’s parliament on Wednesday adopted a new marriage law that allows homosexuals to marry and adopt children and permits lesbians to be artificially inseminated.

After a heated debate, the members of parliament adopted the text by a vote of 84 to 41.

The three centre-left coalition parties in power and two opposition parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals, voted largely in favour of the law, while the Christian Democrats and the far-right Progress Party voted against it.

Norway thus became the sixth country in the world to grant homosexuals the right to marry on an equal footing with heterosexuals, according to Norwegian television TV2.

“This decision is of an importance comparable to universal suffrage and our law on parity,” Labour Party rapporteur Gunn Karin Gjul said during the debate.

The most controversial part of the law is that which gives lesbians the right to be artificially inseminated. The sperm donor must be identified so that the child can seek out his or her biological father at the age of 18.

“We are now creating a system where the father is reduced to a sperm sample,” lamented Ulf Erik Knudsen, a member of the far-right.

Outside the parliament, a handful of opponents protested with posters reading “Have fathers become superfluous?” and “Parliament has no mandate to change the laws of nature.”

Among other things, the new legislation replaces a so-called “partnership law” adopted in 1993 which gave Norwegian homosexuals the right to civil unions.

Health care workers who do not want to perform artificial inseminations on lesbians because of their personal convictions will not be under any obligation to carry out the procedure.

The new law is expected to enter into force at the end of this year or early next year.

Homosexuality was illegal until 1972 in Norway, a country which has since become one of the most liberal in the world in the field.

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Source: UPI

12 June 2008

Norway approves same-sex marriage law

OSLO, Norway, June 12 (UPI) — Norwegian lawmakers said that, despite opposition from conservative critics, they have approved a law allowing same-sex couples to marry.

The new law, which was approved by a two-thirds majority vote Wednesday, also makes the adoption process easier for same-sex couples and makes lesbian couples eligible for state-funded fertility drugs, Aftenposten reported.

“I am extremely pleased that we managed to get this last stage passed. Now we have to tackle the prejudice which still exists in society,” Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen said.

Conservative opponents argue the law compromises the institution of marriage and could cause problems for children of same-sex couples.

Making fertility treatment available to lesbian couples is the most debated part of the legislation, the report said. Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Great Britain currently offer the treatment.

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