by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
Sweden’s Parliament legalized same-sex marriage April 1. Gay couples can begin marrying May 1.
The vote was 261 to 22 with 66 abstentions and absences.
Six of the seven political parties in Parliament supported the decision, with the Christian Democrats the sole holdout.
Sweden has had a registered-partnership law since 1995 that grants registered same-sex couples the rights, benefits and obligations of marriage.
That law no longer will be used, though currently registered couples will have the option of maintaining that status or converting their partnership into a marriage.
Same-sex marriage is also legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, and the U.S. states of Connecticut, Iowa (starting April 24) and Massachusetts.