Faroe Islands’ Same-sex Marriage Bill Receives Royal Assent

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A same-sex marriage bill from the Faroe Islands was given Royal Assent on May 3rd in Denmark.

This ends the legislation’s one year journey from the islands to Danish Parliament and same-sex weddings can begin for the Faroese once a date is chosen by the Danish Justice Minister.

The bill ratified and promulgated this month in Denmark repeals a section of the 2012 Danish marriage law which excluded its constituent territories of Greenland and Faroe Islands from having to perform same-sex weddings. The bill also contains provisions that will give full adoption rights to all Faroese couples.

Greenland previously copied Denmark’s gender-neutral wording into their matrimonial laws in 2016, while the Faroese Parliament mirrored most of Denmark’s legislation but included a clause that does not allow same-sex couples to marry in the local Church, making it the only region of the Danish Kingdom to do so. This exemption was added to guarantee the bill’s approval on the islands after fierce parliamentary debates.

Same-sex weddings are expected to begin in the Faroe Islands in the coming weeks.

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Danish Parliament Ratifies Faroe Islands’ Same-sex Marriage Law

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Danish Parliament held its final reading today on same-sex marriage legislation from the Faroe Islands.

The final vote in Copenhagen comes a year after Faroese Parliament voted to extend the right to marry to all couples and then passed the baton to Denmark. Provisions of the Faroese bill also allow full adoption rights for same-sex couples.

On a vote of 108-0, Denmark gave their ceremonial blessing to incorporating their own equal marriage laws into the islands. As a reading in Danish Parliament requires only 91 MPs to reach a quorum, the remaining MPs in the 179-seat Parliament were not present since it was not required due to the Danes respecting Faroese opinion on most civil matters.

Although it is simply a formality, Danish ratification on the matter was necessary to repeal a section of Denmark’s 2012 marriage legislation that barred their constituent territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands from having to perform same-sex weddings. In its place will be a gender-neutral definition of marriage without territorial conditions that will be adopted into Faroese law as it was in Greenland in 2016.

According to the Danish Parliamentary website, Denmark will now allow the Faroese to marry after a two-step process following this week’s vote.

Today’s bill focuses on the international recognition of same-sex marriages and will enter into force following Royal Assent and a date chosen by the Justice Minister. For all remaining matters regarding marriage, a Royal Decree will be issued in the near future.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in the Faroe Islands, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_the_Faroe_Islands

Falkland Islands Says Yes to Same-sex Marriage

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Last March, on a vote of 7-1, the Falkland Islands’ Legislative Assembly approved gender-neutral marriage and civil partnership legislation which made the islands the latest addition in a growing list of British Overseas Territories to extend these rights to all couples.

The bill guarantees couples in civil partnerships the same parental rights as married couples and notes that “parents to a child may be two mothers or two fathers”.

Falkland couples will be able to enter a civil partnership or marry once the bill receives Royal Assent and a date of enactment is chosen by the Governor.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation on the Falkland Islands, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_the_Falkland_Islands.

Danish Parliament Begins Process of Ratifying Faroes Islands’ Same-sex Marriage Law

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Almost a year after the Faroese Parliament approved a same-sex marriage and adoption bill, Danish Parliament held its first reading February 28th on legislation that would allow the Faroese law to come into effect.

Ratification from Denmark on the Faroese marriage legislation is seen as only a formality, but is required as the 2012 equal marriage law in Denmark, which is the basis for the Faroese same-sex marriage bill, states that none of the Danish constituent territories would be affected by the 2012 law.

The ratification process essentially repeals the clause making the Faroe Islands an exception to adopting Denmark’s same-sex marriage legislation and replaces local laws with gender-neutral wording which affords all couples the right to marry. Provisions within the marriage bill also allow for full adoption rights in the Faroes.

Danish Parliament will approach the ratification process in several steps. One step is to allow same-sex marriages to be held on the Faroe Islands through a Royal Decree and the other is to update the Faroese Procedural Code to mirror Denmark’s and allow for divorce for same-sex couples; the latter being the bill first mentioned in this article which requires two more readings from the Danes and Royal Assent.

Same-sex weddings on the islands should occur not long after the ratification process is completed in the future.

Italy Celebrates First Civil Union

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Last May, Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, promulgated the Civil Union bill and it was published as law in the country’s Official Gazette the following day.

The first civil union was celebrated by two men in Lugo on Sunday despite the government not issuing the pending administrative orders yet.

Since the bill’s approval, opponents of the legislation have threatened a referendum to repeal it. While adoption rights remain controversial with many Italians and within the Italian Senate, as witnessed by the removal of a stepchild adoption clause during parliamentary debates, civil unions themselves are widely accepted by the public according to annual polls.

The Senate’s removal of the clause granting some adoption rights was replaced with one stating that the Italian Government would respect court orders on the subject of parental rights.

This will function as a first step, as throughout the years, many verdicts regarding same-sex adoption have been successful in different courts around the country.

verdict delivered last week from Italy’s Court of Cassation allowed a woman in a same-sex relationship to adopt her partner’s child. The court’s decision did not legalize stepchild adoption, but will instead allow lower court judges to borrow from the court’s ruling on a case by case basis.

This halfway step from the judiciary was cheered by activists, but also served as a reminder that a law to automatically grant the right to stepchild adoption must still be passed through the Legislature in the future.

A separate bill to allow stepchild adoption was proposed in Parliament earlier this year, but may prove difficult to pass as seen by this spring’s events.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in Italy, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Italy

Swiss Parliament Approves Stepchild Adoption Bill

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Last week, Switzerland’s stepchild adoption bill was approved in its final vote in the Legislature.

Stepchild adoption, the right of a person to adopt their partner’s biological child, will be granted to non-married couples regardless of gender if the bill becomes law.

The bill was passed by large majorities in both chambers of Swiss Parliament.

In March, Switzerland’s upper house, the Council of States, approved the adoption reform by a 25-14 vote while the lower house, the National Council, approved the bill on a vote of 113-64 last Saturday.

According to the Wikipedia page following LGBT progress in Switzerland, opponents of the bill may still force a referendum under Swiss law if they collect 50,000 signatures within 100 days. Failure to do so will result in the adoption bill becoming law.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in Switzerland, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Switzerland

Faroe Islands Approves Same-sex Marriage and Adoption

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On a vote of 19-14 , the Faroe Islands approved the adoption of Denmark’s same-sex matrimonial and adoption laws, with the only difference being that the local church will be allowed to decide if it will be performing same-sex weddings or not.

The bill will now be sent to the Danish Parliament who must repeal a clause in Denmark’s 2012 equal marriage law that states that the Danish constituent territories, Greenland and Faroe Islands, will not be affected by the 2012 marriage legislation. The future vote there is seen as a simple formality and once the bill is read in the Danish Parliament three times, it will be sent for Royal Assent so the law can come into effect.

According to Copenhagen Post, the bill will become law in December once it is passed and promulgated in Denmark.

-Congratulations to our friends in the Faroes and special thanks to LGBT Føroyar for answering our questions.