Sweden Mulls Law Allowing Gay-Marriage in Civil and Religious Ceremonies

By Peter J. Smith

STOCKHOLM, July 3, 2007 ( - Sweden is now on the fast-track to become not only the sixth nation in the world to legalise same-sex "marriage", but the first to recognise same-sex "marriages" in a major Christian denomination by January 2008.

A proposed act before the government would revise the 1987 marriage law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman to make it "gender neutral." The law would then allow same-sex couples to "wed" in both civil and religious settings, most notably the Lutheran Church of Sweden, which claims 7.2 million members out of Sweden’s 9 million population.

Sweden has experienced de facto gay "marriage" since it implemented the Registered Partnership Act in 1995. This was followed up in 2003 with the introduction of a gender neutral cohabitation act giving same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, including the right to adopt.

  Sweden’s Lutheran Church, however, has not made any official decision yet about performing "marriages" for homosexuals. The church has "blessed" gay civil partnerships since 2007 and welcomed actively homosexual clergy. The proposed gender-neutral act will allow priests the freedom to opt out of performing such ceremonies for homosexuals.

For pro-family advocates, bestowing the name of "marriage" on same-sex couples in Sweden means just another nail on the lid on the coffin for marriage and the traditional family.

"The breakdown of the whole notion of marriage did not begin with homosexual ‘marriage’," Steven Mosher, President of Population Research Institute told "It ends with homosexual ‘marriage.’"

"[Homosexual ‘marriage’] is not the cause, it’s the consequence," said Mosher. "It’s the last thing to come in the train of the divorce revolution that began decades ago."

Sweden may well portend the fate of traditional marriage and family in other developed nations  as well said Mosher, pointing out that the Scandinavian nations were the first to pioneer laws detrimental to the family and to create a social welfare system that replaced many needs provided by married families.

"They were the first to liberalise divorce laws, they were the first to legalise abortion. They were the first to head down the road of viewing marriage not as a sacred covenant between a husband and wife, but merely an arrangement of convenience, a licence you get from the state to live together. And if so, why get the licence?" stated Mosher.

While same-sex marriage is basically a fait accompli, the issue threatens to tear apart the ruling four-party coalition, the Alliance for Sweden, which holds a slim 178-171 majority over the Opposition in the Rikstag, Sweden’s Parliament. In June eight members of the coalition’s leading Moderate Party (including a cabinet minister) threatened to dissolve Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s government unless the Party made a stand on same-sex "marriage."

The Moderate Party leadership then voted June 15 to adopt a position in favour of same-sex "marriage." The party’s conference is expected to approve it later this Fall. Without any intervention, the government may introduce the "gender neutral" marriage act by January 2008.

The Alliance’s Christian Democrats, on the other hand, have pledged to do all in their power to veto same-sex "marriage" legislation. However, despite the 24 seats they bring to the ruling coalition, they remain the only party in the 349 seat Rikstag opposed to same-sex "marriage," likely rendering all actions delay tactics at best.

PRI’s Mosher says the traditional family has come to "the end of the road" in Sweden, where over 60% of children are born out of wedlock parents, and crime rates have risen, which Mosher attributes to the lack of the stability in children’s lives that is afforded by the traditional family.  Now that marriage no longer has any special significance in society, said Mosher homosexuals have merely used the demise of marriage as an opportunity to legitimise their own behaviour.
 "When you allow homosexuals to marry, you are saying that the aspect of raising children, the aspect of procreation is completely irrelevant," warned Mosher. "You are finally divorcing what you call marriage from any relationship of bearing and having children, and that empties out the concept entirely, making it devoid of any significance. So it’s the end of the road for the family."

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