New Law

First Same-Sex Marriages in Sweden

Sweden’s first gender-neutral weddings have taken place on this May 1st - with the new law now going into effect – giving gay and lesbian couples the same right as heterosexuals to get married.

Up to now, same-sex couples have been able to have legal partnership ceremonies - giving them the same benefits as heterosexual couples but considered by some as a discriminatory situation with different names for the different ceremonies.

One explanation for the rather low interest of gay and lesbian couples in getting married right now is that the Swedish church is still undecided if it will carry out gender-neutral weddings for homosexuals.

The Swedish Lutheran church will make a final decision on this in the autumn. Some critics have demanded that the church refrain from holding legal marriage ceremonies at all if it can not treat all couples the same way.

Even though many people in this Nordic nation are not regular church-goers, church weddings are very popular mostly for the traditional photographs, although a wedding at the city hall or any where else with a qualified master of ceremonies is just as legal.

Those homosexual couples who are already in legal partnership can choose to go through a wedding ceremony or register their interest in changing the name of their relationship or simply continue to be legal partners – but no future partnership ceremonies are to be carried out in the city halls or other establishments.