The tiny island of Iceland (pop.
320,000) has legalized gay marriage.
Lawmakers unanimously approved the law
on Friday, IceNews reported. Forty-nine of the country's 63 members
of the Althingi parliament voted in favor of the law. The remainder
The legislation is groundbreaking in
that it does not alter marriage to a gender-neutral institution, but
instead includes “man and man” and “woman and woman” among
the definitions of marriage.
The bill was introduced on March 23 and
couples are expected to marry as early as this month.
Marriage will replace Iceland's system
of registered partnerships for gay and lesbian couples first enacted
The legislation goes to President
Olafur Ragnar Grimsson for his signature. Reports indicate the
president will sign the bill into law.
Opposition to the bill has been muted
in the only nation headed by an openly lesbian prime minister,
“The attitude in Iceland is fairly
pragmatic,” Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson, a political scientist at the
University of Iceland, told Reuters. “It [gay marriage] has not
been a big issue in national politics – it's not been
Social Democrat Sigurdardottir took
over the the reins of Iceland's government last year after voters
overwhelmingly rejected the conservative Independent Party that had
ruled the country for 18 years.
Sigurdardottir entered a registered
partnership with writer-playwright Jonina Leosdottir in 2002. She
has two adult sons from a previous marriage.
Iceland joins six European countries –
Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Sweden and most recently
Portugal – in legalizing gay marriage.
Lawmakers in Argentina
are also debating the issue.