The Norwegian parliament has passed new legislation to allow same sex marriages. The law also recognises both partners in a marriage as equal parents and gives lesbian couples the right to artificial insemination.
Outside, banner-waving supporters vied with a small band of protesters as the crucial vote was underway. Those opposed to the move claimed fathers were being made superfluous and parliament had no “mandate to change nature”.
But parliament voted overwhelmingly in support of the bill despite opposition from the Christian Democrats and Progress party. The new legislation replaces a so-called partnership law passed in 1993 giving Norwegian homosexuals the right to civil unions.
Passage of the law makes Norway the sixth country in the world to approve same sex marriages, granting homosexuals the right to marry on an equal footing with heterosexuals, ensuring equal rights and barring all forms of discrimination. Homosexuality was illegal until 1972 in Norway, a country which has since become one of the most liberal in the world.