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News – Sweden redefines marriage

May 2009

Sweden redefines marriage


Sweden has become the fifth European country to allow gay couples to be legally married. The country’s parliament voted overwhelmingly to recognise same-sex marriage from the beginning of this month.

     Sweden was one of the first countries to give gay couples legal partnership rights, in the mid-1990s; and allowed them to adopt children from 2002. The new law lets homosexuals wed in either a civil or religious ceremony, though individual churches can opt out. The law was passed by 226 votes to 22 and will come into force on 1 May.

     The Netherlands passed similar legislation in 2000, Belgium in 2003, Spain in 2005 and Norway in 2008.

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