Same-sex Weddings Begin Inside the Church of Norway

320px-Flag_of_Norway.svg

After several years of lobbying by LGBT Christians and supportive priests, the Church of Norway held its final vote to celebrate same-sex ceremonies within its premises this week.

Monday’s vote of 83-29 in favor of a new gender-neutral liturgy was cheered through out the country with couples planning preparations on February 1st when the new rules would come into effect.

The first same-sex couple to marry inside the Norwegian Lutheran Church was a pair of men who wed at the stroke of midnight on Wednesday.

Unlike other Scandinavian countries, Norway passed a 2009 civil marriage law that did not have State Church weddings tied into its legislation.

The new State Church rules explain that religious leaders have a right to decline officiating a same-sex wedding, but the same parish must find a replacement for the couples.

Gratulerer til alle våre venner i Norge! 🙂

Advertisements

Italy Approves Civil Unions Bill

320px-flag_of_italy-svg

Italy approved its civil union legislation on Wednesday by a vote of 372-51 with 99 abstentions.

Italy is the last major Western European nation with no law recognizing same-sex couples.

The Civil Unions bill first arrived in the Senate in February with fierce debates causing it to be watered down. The most controversial clause of the bill that would have allowed stepchild adoption, the right of a person to adopt their partner’s child, was dropped to ensure its passage. Instead, the bill proposed that the country will respect any court verdict recognizing a stepparent’s rights.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi also had to employ a confidence vote and gamble his entire coalition to bypass the hundreds of amendments proposed by conservatives in Parliament. The bill was then sent to the Chamber of Deputies for its examination.

To avoid new delays, Renzi once again used a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies. The vote succeeded by a landslide and assured the public that the bill would be approved. Had either of Renzi’s confidence votes failed, new elections would have to be called.

Once the confidence vote was passed in Wednesday’s session, supporters of the law from around the country cheered. The final vote on the law itself saw more MPs in favor, but also many abstentions from those who were in favor of the law and were not keen on Renzi’s usage of confidence votes.

Since the bill was not changed when it traveled from one chamber of Parliament to the other, it will be sent for the Italian President’s signature.

President Sergio Mattarella has 30 days to sign or veto the bill.

Colombian Constitutional Court Legalizes Same-sex Marriage

320px-flag_of_colombia-svg

On a vote of 6-3, Colombia’s Constitutional Court has extended marriage equality to the South American country.

The marriage case began in 2013 after several civil court judges registered “solemn unions” between same-sex couples as marriages.

A previous ruling in 2011 gave Congress two years to pass a law recognizing same-sex couples, but as the Legislature did not approve a bill, couples in Colombia won the ability to register their unions in 2013 when the ruling went into effect.

After some civil court judges registered the marriages in 2013, Colombia’s Inspector General asked the higher courts to intervene and annul the nuptials and the issue found its way to the 9 magistrates of the Constitutional Court.

A conservative magistrate wrote his opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman and that same-sex couples should retain the solemn union scheme. He also argued that is should be Congress who changes the matrimonial laws and not the Court. The plenary voted 6-3 to reject his opinion and then turned to a counter-opinion from another magistrate in favor of extending marriage rights.

A Constitutional Court memo says that the counter-opinion will be voted on in the next session and a similar 6-3 verdict in favor of same-sex marriage is expected. Either way, marriage equality already prevailed today and the vote is mostly seen as a formality.

The Constitutional Court made Colombia the next country with marriage equality by ordering Civil Registries to serve any couple who requests a marriage license and warned that not even judges can deny the celebration of equal marriage rights in the country.

-¡Felicidades, Colombia!