Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Autumn 1994

Finland, the Netherlands and Spain: Optimism about Partnership Law

This year, Sweden became the third Nordic country to introduce legal recognition of same-sex marriages, following the example of Denmark (1989) and Norway (1993), and the new ‘Partnership’ law will take effect from 1 January next year. Now gay activists in these three countries are optimistic about similar legislation being introduced in neighbouring Finland. Last year a committee appointed by the Finnish Ministry of Justice came out in favour of such legislation and the country’s lesbian and gay rights organisation SETA says that this is at the top of its agenda.

Meanwhile, further south in Spain, the Minister of Social Affairs, Christina Alberdi, will present a bill to parliament shortly which would give equal rights to married couples, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. Signora Alberdi is hopeful of success and says: “Spanish society’s attitude ... is outstanding compared to other democratic countries, particularly given Spain’s undemocratic past.”

Not surprisingly, given the Pope’s attack on the European Parliament’s pro-gay resolution as legitimising ‘moral disorder’, the Catholic Church in Spain has described the forthcoming bill as “an aberration”.

Up north again in the Netherlands, which is usually recognised as the most pro-gay country in the world, the lesbian and gay movement is waiting for a “pink coalition” to speed up the political process of introducing a partnership law. A spokesperson for the Dutch lesbian and gay organisation COC points out that the present parliamentary coalition includes the Christian Democrats and this makes such a law politically impossible.

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Created : Sunday, 1999-09-05 / Last updated : Sunday, 2008-02-10
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