Sweden gives the go-ahead for gay marriage

On Wednesday Swedish Parliament voted 226 to 22 in favor of allowing same-sex marriages. In May, the nation will join Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Norway allowing gay couples to wed. Canada and South Africa also allow gay marriages.
The Parliament has spoken, making Sweden the fifth European country to allow same-sex marriages.

The BBC reports:

“The decision means that gender no longer has an impact on the ability to marry and that the law on registered partnership is repealed,” the government said on its website.

Not everyone in Sweden is happy about the Parliament’s decision. The Christian Democrats were the only party to oppose the law. The party had instead proposed the word of marriage be removed from Swedish law and replaced with a legally binding union between two persons. This would have made ‘marriage’ separate from the government and only a Christian ceremony that the church would conduct.

CNN
reports:

“Unfortunately this is not an April Fool’s Day joke, this is reality,” Yvonne Andersson, member of the Swedish parliament for the Christian Democrats, wrote on the party’s Web site following the vote.

Sweden has backed gay couples being one of the first nations in the world to give gay couples legal “partnership” rights in 1994.

Since January 2007 the Lutheran Church, Sweden’s largest church, has offered to bless gay partnerships. They have not given formal back to the term “marriage” and if a pastor is against same-sex marriage they are allowed to refuse to officiate such ceremonies.

Gay couples have been allowed to adopt children since 2002.

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