Norway Shows The Way

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The Norwegian government has proposed a marriage law that would give gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals, including church weddings, adoption and assisted pregnancies. The new legislation would replace a 1993 law that granted gays the right to enter civil unions similar to marriage but did not give them other benefits enjoyed by married couples.

“This new marriage law is a step forward along the lines of voting rights for all and equality laws,” said Minister of Children and Equality Anniken Huitfeldt.

The measure gives gays the right to a church wedding but does not require any minister or religious organization to perform the ceremony. The proposal also grants the right to assisted pregnancies to lesbians and allows gays to be considered as adoptive parents.

“The new law does not weaken the institution of marriage, rather, it strengthens it,” Huitfeldt said. “Marriage does not become less valuable because more people can take part in it.”

It was not clear whether parliament would approve the measure without changes.

Minister of Local Government Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa and Transport Minister Liv Signe Navarsete said they were against the right to assisted pregnancies but endorsed the rest of the bill. The opposition Christian Democratic party not surprisingly said it opposed the measure.

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