I got the following message from Thor Viðar Jónsson of Siðmennt. We don’t hear about most of the cool stuff going on in Iceland, so I thought I would share.
Today, January 30, 2013, the Icelandic Parliament (Althing) passed a law which gives secular life stance organizations the right to apply for equal legal status with religions. The new law amends the current law about registered religious organizations. Thus, for the first time in Icelandic history, the government recognizes and guarantees equality between secular and religious life stances!
Sidmennt, the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association has been lobbying for such a change for more than 10 years and celebrates this historic turning point. As soon as the law takes effect, Sidmennt will apply to the Ministry of the Interior for registration which will guarantee equal rights and freedom of conscience to its 300 members. Sidmennt is grateful to the Minister of the Interior, Ogmundur Jonasson, who introduced and championed this human rights bill and to all those members of Parliament who voted in favor of it.
Although this law is an important step towards equality, the government is not changing the privileged status of the Evangelical Lutheran State Church, which enjoys both legal and financial privileges over all other life stance organizations.