Denmark is set to become the 11th
country to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples, Berlingske
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
on Tuesday announced that the government will introduce a gay
marriage bill on Wednesday.
If approved, gay couples will be
allowed to marry either at City Hall or in the Church of Denmark,
provided a priest agrees to officiate.
“It will be up to each priest whether
he or she will perform gay marriages, but the government gives all
members of the church the right to get married in the church, whether
they want to marry a person of the opposite or same sex,”
Thorning-Schmidt told reporters.
The legislation, Thorning-Schmidt said,
will come into effect on June 15.
Denmark became the first country to
legalize registered partnerships for gay couples in 1989.
While 7 European
countries have legalized gay marriage, only 2 – Iceland and Sweden
– allow full wedding ceremonies for gay couples.
Polls show that a
large majority (69%) of Danes support allowing gay couples to marry
in the church.