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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Same-sex Couples Can Now Marry on the Island of Guernsey

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On May 2nd, the largest island in the Bailiwick of Guernsey officially extended the right to marry to all couples and applications for weddings have been accepted since then.

After first voting for equal marriage rights in principle in December of 2015, the States of Guernsey voted for a draft same-sex marriage bill in September of 2016 that received Royal Assent last December.

The final step required, an ordinance of commencement, was approved in April 2017 and came into effect on Tuesday and allows for couples to hold weddings starting Thursday.

Although the largest island in the bailiwick, Guernsey, allows same-sex marriage, the other two jurisdictions of Alderney and Sark do not.

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Alderney recognizes overseas marriages for purposes such as those of inheritance matters and is considering their own marriage bill. There is no news on when Sark will consider the motion.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in all of Guernsey, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Guernsey

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

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.

Same-sex Weddings Begin Inside the Church of Norway

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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! 🙂

Guernsey Passes Final Same-sex Marriage Legislation; Weddings in 2017

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The States of Guernsey approved a same-sex marriage bill today by a vote of 33-5.

This vote comes almost a year after Guernsey voted in principle to modify their marriage laws to include same-sex couples.

The bill will now be sent to the Privy Council for its promulgation and weddings are expected to begin in mid-2017.

Guernsey is the second of the three British Crown Dependencies to open the door to same-sex weddings after Isle of Man began marrying couples in July. Jersey, who also voted in principle last year to expand marriage rights like Guernsey, stated that they will vote on their own final legislation in the coming months and also wish to hold weddings in 2017.

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

Gibraltar’s Government Presents Same-sex Marriage Bill

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Gibraltar’s Government announced the introduction of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage today.

Originally planned to make its debut earlier this year, the Civil Marriage Amendment Act 2016 was delayed due to both the UK’s European Union referendum and the high volume of feedback during the consultation process.

With almost 3,500 answers submitted, the legislation is said to have received the largest number of public responses ever.

Despite stating that a conscience vote will be used in his center-left coalition, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo is optimistic that there is enough support within his Government to approve the law.

Picardo’s coalition controls 10 of the 17 seats of Parliament while the Opposition, whose leader also expressed his confidence that his party will vote in favor, controls the remaining seats and announced a conscience vote as well.

The marriage bill will allow couples in civil partnerships to convert their union to a marriage if they desire.

Currently, gender-neutral civil partnerships with full adoption rights exist in the territory since 2014.

The civil partnership bill, which was viewed as a milestone by locals, was approved 16-0 after the Supreme Court of Gibraltar ruled that same-sex couples must not be excluded from the adoption process.

The Mariage Act will be debated for the first time no earlier than six weeks after its publication as mandated by Gibraltar’s constitution.

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