Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has set the date for marriage equality in Denmark. She announced on Tuesday that the government will introduce draft legislation this week to legalize same-sex marriages, according to BNO News.
Denmark Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
This law is a long time coming, as Denmark was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex unions back in 1989. They’ve been struggling to extend that to same-sex marriages as politicians have repeatedly rejected bills, despite the country’s openness to the LGBT community.
“We have looked at two laws that will provide the gay and lesbian community the opportunity to get married in the church and at city hall,” she said. “The administration and I firmly believe that this is a natural step to take in a modern society like Denmark. “
The law will go into effect on June 15, just in time for the wedding season boom.
The bill will state that it is up to the priests whether or not they decide to perform gay marriages, though previous surveys have shown that 70 percent of priests were open to marrying LGBT couples.
Thorning said the government's solution respects both positions in the debate. "We found a good solution where we maintain the openness within the church, where priests can refuse to marry gay couples," she said.
Denmark will join Scandinavian neighbors Norway and Sweden as well as other European countries such as Iceland, Netherlands, Spain and Portugal who legally recognize same-sex marriage.