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Sweden: Government crisis over gay marriage

Wed 13 Jun 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

The Swedish coalition government of Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is in danger of collapse over the issue of same-sex marriage. Eight Members of Parliament from Reinfeldt’s own Conservative Moderate Party are threatening to revolt if the party does not officially support gay marriage legislation. Two of Reinfeldt's coalition partners, the Center and Liberal parties, already have announced their support for the bill. A third party, the Christian Democrats are opposed to same-sex marriage and have indicated they would veto the legislation. Sweden already has civil partnerships under a law enacted in 1995 that gives most of the rights and obligations of marriage to same-sex couples who register. But the country's LGBT community and moderate politicians have stepped up lobbying to have the law amended to permit gays and lesbians to marry. A parliamentary committee studying the issue last year called civil partnerships outdated and has recommended Parliament allow same-sex marriage. It also would allow gay couples to marry in churches. So far Reinfeldt’s Conservative Moderates have failed to introduce a gay marriage bill in Parliament and the party has carefully avoided taking a stand. A report issued by the committee last year noted a public opinion poll showed that 46 percent of Swedes are supportive of gay marriage, while 31 percent are opposed. The remainder were undecided. Reinfeldt has said the party will make a decision on the legislation at its annual convention in their Autumn. The eight MPs pressuring him to act sooner are said to include at least one cabinet minister.     Ref: (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 13th June 2007 - 12:00pm

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