Sweden is edging closer towards officially approving gay marriage now that three of the four parties in the ruling government coalition have joined forces and tabled a motion to legalise the controversial unions by 1 May. Of the four parties in the Alliance government, only the Christian Democrats are holding out. The Local newspaper reports that they are opposed to using the term “marriage” when referring to gay unions.
The Liberals, the Centre Party, and the conservative Moderates, however, are all behind the new law that would remove the reference to marriage as being restricted to a union between a man and a woman. The motion before parliament reads: “Regardless of sexual orientation, people in stable couple relationships have a need to manifest their feelings and their desire to live together.”
At present, homosexuals may only register their union in a civil ceremony, and are barred from taking part in a church ceremony. Even the opposition Social Democrats, Sweden’s largest political group, support the measure so there should be little to stop the law from being passed in parliament.
If the new law does pass, Sweden will become the seventh country to allow full same sex marriage rights. Sweden has pioneered the way for gay unions to get equal legal status as heterosexual married couples since 1995, and this progressive-minded nation looks set to raise the bar again.