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Iceland: Same-Sex Marriage Approved

(June 17, 2010) The Althingi, Iceland's parliament, on June 11, 2010, unanimously approved same-sex marriages. The new concept of marriage as being neutral on gender-orientation will replace the existing practice of registered partnerships for gay couples, which has been in effect in the country since 1996. (Dwyer Arce, Iceland Parliament Approves Same-Sex Marriage Legislation, PAPERCHASE NEWSBURST (June 11, 2010),

Iceland is known for an open attitude on homosexuality and has elected the world's first openly gay leader, Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir. Commenting on the views of Icelanders on the question of gay marriage, political scientist Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson of the University of Iceland stated: “[t]he attitude in Iceland is fairly pragmatic. It has not been a big issue in national politics — it's not been controversial.” (Iceland Passes Gay Marriage Law in Unanimous Vote, REUTERS (June 11, 2010),

The new legislation contains a religious exception to allow the Church of Iceland to opt out of performing same-sex marriage ceremonies. To date the Church has not announced its policy on the matter. (Arce, supra.)

Iceland joins Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden as European countries recognizing same-sex marriages. (Id.)