Iceland to Allow Church Unions

Timothy Kincaid

June 27th, 2008

The Republic of Iceland has recognized same-sex civil unions since 1996. Now the Iceland Review reports that churches will now be able to offer services recognizing these unions.

Árni Thór Arnthórsson and his American fiancé Paris Prince will be the first gay couple to get married in church in Iceland early next month after a new law on the right of religious associations to confirm cohabitation of gay couples took affect today.

We would welcome any readers familiar with Icelandic law and language to clarify whether these unions may now be identified as marriage or whether that term was simply a translation convenience.

UPDATE:

This article in xtra.ca by Nicholas Little suggests that marriage may be the proper term:

1996.
The Althing grants same-sex registered partnerships equal status with heterosexual marriage, with the exception that neither adoption nor in-vitro fertilisation is permitted.

The Althing also amends the general penal code to include sexual orientation as prohibited grounds for discrimination. This makes it illegal to refuse people goods or services on account of their sexual orientation, or to attack a person or group of people publicly with mockery, defamation, abuse or threats because of their sexual orientation.

2006.
The Althing grants same-sex couples full legal rights of marriage, but denies churches and religious groups the authority to perform the legal ceremony.

Jun 27, 2008.
Ministers of churches can now join same-sex couples in legal marriage.

As more information is available we’ll let you know whether Iceland has become the Seventh nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

David

June 27th, 2008

I believe Iceland has a state Lutheran church just like the rest of Scandinavia. There is a small income tax collected from all citizens to pay for it.

I think, however, that the marriage equality struggle in Scandinavia is going to be very different from ours. They have a very clear demarcation between civil and religious marriage and as your article pointed out, they have enjoyed civil marriage equality for quite some time.

Essentially, I think this news is more ecclesiastical than an indication of progression on civil liberties.

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