by Rex Wockner
Sweden’s four-party government coalition has had trouble agreeing on a measure to legalize same-sex marriage, but the law should be in place by the middle of next year nonetheless.
“We haven’t had a common understanding among all the parties of the alliance,” Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told Sveriges Radio on Nov. 5. “I respect that there can be different opinions on these types of issues, despite the fact that it hasn’t been unclear how the majority feels.”
The Christian Democrats party was the lone holdout and, in the end, forced the government to agree to proceed by introducing a parliamentary bill to legalize same-sex marriage rather than by submitting a government proposal, which is what the government wanted to do.
“The government will place a joint proposal for a new law, including everything apart from the issue of making it gender-neutral. Then the three ‘pro-gay’ government parties in the Parliament will introduce bills with the gender-neutral component,” said Jon Voss, editor of the Swedish gay Web site http://www.QX.se. “Sweden will have a gender-neutral marriage during the first half of 2009.”
Same-sex marriage is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa and Spain, and will become legal in Norway in January.
In the U.S., same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut and Massachusetts. It was legal in California until Nov. 4, when voters amended the state constitution to negate the May state Supreme Court ruling that legalized it.
Pro-same-sex-marriage lawyers have asked the California Supreme Court to suspend the amendment’s taking effect, arguing that because of its far-reaching effects on the constitution’s structure and purpose, the “amendment” actually is a “revision” of the constitution, which cannot be “revised” solely via a ballot initiative.