Iceland Legalizes Gay Marriage

Today, Iceland politicians voted unanimously to allow gay marriage:

The Althingi parliament voted 49 to zero to change the wording of marriage legislation to include matrimony between “man and man, woman and woman,” in addition to unions between men and women.

Iceland, a socially tolerant island nation of about 320,000 people, became the first country to elect an openly gay head of state in 2009 when Social Democrat Johanna Sigurdardottir became prime minister after being nominated by her party.

“The attitude in Iceland is fairly pragmatic,” said Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson, a political scientist at the University of Iceland. “It (gay marriage) has not been a big issue in national politics — it’s not been controversial.”

Good for them :)

Now… what the #*%& is wrong with America?

  • Jim H

    Now… what the #*%& is wrong with America?

    Need you ask? Religion!

  • Hitch

    Go Iceland!

  • Sarah

    Religion is what is wrong with america. It makes me embarrassed to live in a country that believes in the literal word of the bible. I am glad, however, to live in a country that isn’t run by a moron and that more freethinkers are “coming out.”

    Go Iceland!

  • tim

    Now… what the #*%& is wrong with America?

    Speaking as a gay atheist – are you seriously trying to compare an island nation of 300 thousand with the United States which has a population of 300 million spread over 3.8 million square miles? That is not only naive but borders on stupid. And you can’t blame religion for all of it – many religious organizations have no problem with same sex marriage.

    Social change has always moved more slowly in America than other countries. The right answer is not making stupid naive comments but to continue the fight day in and day out at state and federal levels.

  • Pingback: Iceland Is Better Than America « WeaselMark

  • Dan W

    Way to go Iceland! Now if only the politicians here could get their heads out of their asses long enough to do that here. I’ve often wondered why legalizing gay marriage is done state by state, instead of nationally. I’m sure religion is a major part of it. Politicians from very religious districts don’t want to lose potential votes when election time approaches. And of course the fundie politicians won’t support gay rights. Bigots electing bigots into office. :(

  • JD

    Given the landslide and the social attitudes, why hadn’t Iceland moved on this sooner? It seems to me that a 60% ratio is beyond the tipping point.

  • Ryan

    We should definitely have a party for Iceland. Good Job.

    I do agree with JD though. What took them so long? Perhaps it wasn’t really high on their priority list. Who knows.

  • Richard Wade

    This reminds me about Iceland being at the top percentage of people who accept evolution. The U.S. is second to last on this chart, just ahead of Turkey.

  • Stephen P

    Given the landslide and the social attitudes, why hadn’t Iceland moved on this sooner?

    I would guess because there wasn’t much pressure to do so. In Europe generally (at least in northern Europe) unmarried partners have more rights than they do in the US, both legally granted rights and socially accepted rights. In the Netherlands, for example, same-sex partners could join pension and medical insurance schemes at most companies long before same-sex marriage was introduced. I’ve never heard of hospital visiting rights being an issue in either the Netherlands or Britain. I expect the same was true in Iceland.

  • Rarian Rakista

    Sarah, if they wished to follow the “literal word” of the Bible they would be stoning adulterers to death, selling slaves and killing children who dishonor their parents. The Bible has been instead appropriated as an authority they refer to when confronted with social or moral conflicts that do not mesh with their own sets of prejudices.

    The vast majority of Christians are such because they fear death and uncertainty to the point that they will actively refuse to believe or attack anything that would disturb their fantasies. In other words, if a follower of Abraham is not rational they are very likely dangerous.

  • Oskar

    It was indeed a good day here in Iceland.
    The reason it was not done here in Iceland sooner is that here we do not have separation of church and state and the church always informally dictated how marriage should be treated.
    Now in the first time in our history we do not have a politician as a secretary of human rights and justice, and she did not do the churches bidding. She made a law regardless of what the church decided and here we are.

  • Gary

    And is it not the case, Oskar, that your current prime minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, is a lesbian who is already in a “civil union” with another woman?

  • chancelikely

    All I have to say about this is that the Althing is the best name for a national legislature in the world. Even better than the Diet.

  • Cecilie

    Given the landslide and the social attitudes, why hadn’t Iceland moved on this sooner?

    I would guess because there wasn’t much pressure to do so. In Europe generally (at least in northern Europe) unmarried partners have more rights than they do in the US, both legally granted rights and socially accepted rights.

    I think that’s probably part of the reason. Here in Denmark, ‘civil unions’ were instituted in 1989. We call it ‘registered partnership’ or ‘secular marriage’, it’s conducted by the mayor at the city hall and popular with both homosexual couples and heterosexuals who wish to avoid a church wedding due to having different religions or no religion at all.

    However, since then we haven’t really moved forward to ensure complete equality between homo- and heterosexuals, because the differences are fairly small: Gay couples are exempt from laws referring to only one gender in a marriage (ie. ‘all married men/women must…’, although I don’t know a single current law formulated this way) and they can’t adopt children from foreign countries (because many countries who offer children for adoption by Western couples would stop all adoptions to both straight and gay couples in protest if this were legalised – however, gay couples can adopt Danish children.) Gay couples can even have their secular marriage blessed in the National Church with a ceremony very like a Church marriage, if they so choose (more than 50% of them do), and in all legal and financial aspects they’re equal to heterosexual couples.

    However, with our neighbours, Iceland and Norway, having ensured complete equality, the left-wing opposition in Denmark has brought up the question again. Maybe soon we’ll follow Iceland in this – I certainly hope so! It’s about time.

    I’ve never heard of hospital visiting rights being an issue in either the Netherlands or Britain. I expect the same was true in Iceland.

    I think this is one of the most heinous aspects of American discrimination towards homosexuals. Here, a same-sex partner would always be allowed visiting rights, even if they aren’t married, and would receive the exact same support and counselling.

  • JustSayin’

    I think this is one of the most heinous aspects of American discrimination towards homosexuals.

    That’s because this country is a joke, Cecilie. It’s become a politically polarized nightmare from which we can’t seem to awaken. “Land of the free,” my fucking ass.

  • Steini

    And is it not the case, Oskar, that your current prime minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, is a lesbian who is already in a “civil union” with another woman?

    That is true, and she has been open about that since she started in politics… and nobody cares!

  • http://paulforpm.blogspot.com/ keddaw

    Yay! Go Iceland.

    Now polygamy….???

    Or, as is my personal choice, ban the state’s involvement, or conception of, marriage. What does two, or more, people’s sleeping arrangement have to do with me or, by extension, the state?

  • http://www.thatpinkmouse.com/bloggy Jenny Bliss

    oo perhaps i can shed some light on this 1 as to why not sooner :D its a very strange issue, strange in that its never actualy been much of an issue or contraversial in Iceland, in short from a political and social point of view they’ve never really cared much about it 1 way or the other (perhaps thats a good thing actualy haha) a perfect example of this is the fact the media of outside countries took massive amounts of intrest in the fact that the head of the government is an openly gay woman (and still do as far as im aware) however inside the country they never cared much about that, so.. really its a none issue which is pretty much how it should be ^_^ its just this is seen to be odd by the outside world alot :D

  • http://www.banalleakge.com martymankins

    Go Iceland.

    As to why not here, it’s because some put a belief in a being they can’t see and apply everything they think this being says to do to living human beings around them.


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