On January 1, 2009, Norway became the 6th country to offer full, legal marriage to same-sex couples. The law was enacted on June 17, 2008.
Norway began registering legal partnerships for same-sex couples on April 30, 1993.
[See Registered Partnership: The Scandinavian Approach]
Now allowing full legal marriage, same-sex couples will be granted the same rights as opposite-sex couples to marry, adopt and access alternative insemination.
A parliamentary majority had announced agreement on the legislation in May 2008, and the lower house voted 84-41 in favor on June 11, 2008. On June 17, 2008, Norway’s upper house of parliament voted 23-17 in favor of the gender-neutral marriage law. The King of Norway granted royal assent soon thereafter.
The gender-neutral marriage law replaces the 1993 registered partnerships law. The law gives individual congregations and clergy the right — but not the legal obligation — to perform wedding ceremonies for gay couples.
Three separate polls of the Norwegian population indicated the majority support gender-neutral marriage laws:
- EOS Gallup Europe (2003) 61 percent in favor
- Sentio (2005) 63 percent in favor
- Synovate MMI (2007) 66 percent in favor
Family Issues minister Anniken Huitfeldt, when introducing the bill in March 2008, called it “an historic step towards equality.” She told Parliament: “The new law won’t weaken marriage as an institution, rather, it will strengthen it. Marriage won’t be worth less because more can take part in it.”
Warnings: Marriage Law Pitfalls for U.S. Citizens
Should a Norwegian same-sex married couple come to the U.S., the U.S. would refuse to recognize the marriage because the DoMA law.
[See our article: Defense of Marriage Act]
Also, the majority of U.S. states have made laws denying recognition to any legal marriage licenses held by same-sex couples.
Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage
South Africa (2005)
New Zealand (2013)
New Zealand (2013)
United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland) (2013)
US States & Territories
New Hampshire (2009)
District of Columbia (2009)
New York (2011)
Rhode Island (2013)
New Jersey (2013)
New Mexico (2013)
Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
West Virginia (2014)
Kansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
North Carolina (2014)
South Carolina (2014)
U.S. Supreme Court (June 26, 2015):
All U.S. States must now allow same-sex
couples the freedom of legal marriage.
Native American Tribes|
Coquille Tribe, Oregon (2009)
Mashantucket Pequot, Connecticut (2011)
Suquamish Tribe, Washington (2011)
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington (2013)
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota (2013)
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (2013)
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan (2013)
Santa Ysabel Tribe, California (2013)
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation, Washington (2013)
Cheyenne, Oklahoma (2013)
Arapaho, Oklahoma (2013)
Leech Lake Tribal Court, Minnesota (2013)
Puyallup Tribe, Washington (2914)
Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming (2014)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan, (2014)
Colville Confederated Tribes, Washington (2014)
Central Council of Tlingit, Alaska (2015)
Haida Indian Tribes, Alaska (2015)