Thursday, January 22, 2009

Same-Sex Marriage in Sweden

Sweden looks to be closing in on allowing same-sex marriages. Surprisingly, the country does not currently allow for it. They allow for civil unions. They allow for childen. They do not allow for marriage. There are a handful of countries that do: Holland, Belgium, Spain, Canada, Norway, and South Africa. Yes, South Africa has gender neutral marriage laws. And I learned something new today.

But now Sweden wants in on that. The Moderates have split with the Christian Democrats and come out in favor of same-sex marriages. There’s still a bit of discussion going on, about when. May of this year or January of next year? About how those who are already in a registered civil union will be handled. Do they go straight to a married couple? Do they have a marriage ceremony that is acknowledged by the government?

So questions still need to be answered. But really, it’s about time. Because it’s just kind of ridiculous to be legislating that sort of thing. Whatever floats your boat really. And if same-sex marriage floats yours then go for it. Especially under the assumption that it is biological and you know, Satan didn’t convince you to do it. That whole not allowing people to get married based on the color of their skin, one of those biological conditions, didn’t turn out all that well.

This is one of those things that has always annoyed me about the Republican Party in the US. So many claim to be proponents of small government and yet they want to legislate what goes on in the bedroom. Or not even in the bedroom, but who you can and cannot love and spend your life with. It’s hypocritical as all hell. Of course, hypocrisy runs deep in just about any political party so it’s to be expected. But still.

Plus, to be perfectly crass, I think there’s money to be made here. Marriage is a big business. And right now there are a whole lot of couples that wouldn’t mind getting married that can’t. We are on the brink of a marriage boom. Governments want you to spend. Keynesian economics calls for money to be pumped into the system. I can think of no event that the average citizen can take part in that is more expensive than a wedding. Maybe that’s why Moderaterna are going for this. They see an opportunity to help the flailing Swedish economy.

Welcome to Sweden.

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  1. You don't live up to the expectations I have at all when it comes to republicans, and that coming from me is a compliment for sure ;)

  2. I see you are writing about ärtsoppa, pannkaka and other good foods, but you have missed the most important:


    That is the one thing I miss the most being in North America. It's godly. Yum!

    You must have tried it? What do you think?

    //Stephanie - who would give a finger for some korvstroganoff right now :)

  3. @izi - thanks.. I like to throw people off a bit

    @mysmasken - you are absolutely right. I love falukorv. and I dont know why I haven't managed to write about that yet.

  4. Interesting news! I guess Finland will follow Sweden, as usually. Nicely put: 'same-sex', not gay/lesbian (BTW, why are gay women called lesbians, not gay?). It must be politically correct to say 'same-sex', since some same-sex couples might claim they are not gay. It's weird but it could happen. Like many transvetites say they are not gay, which is probably true. So why couldn't same-sex couples be heterosexual as well..? TIC as usual, but just think about it! I missed a good post of mine here, but just didn't bother this time... Good topic, Hairy!

  5. Yes, Sweden, go for it! We in Spain support you whole-heartedly! :)

  6. Im all for gay marriage, as long as both chicks are hot. In other cases as well, because I dont really see a reason why not. And on the topic of falukorv, thats hopefully just a matter of time, since I know Mr Hairy had falukorv last week.

  7. smek this,
    I actually have a friend who does not consider herself a lesbian even though she in attraced to and dates only women. She believes she is in effect a man (in a girls body). Accordingly, she takes hormone cocktails and is looking into gender reassignment surgery. "she" is now "he." So there you go. I had never thought about "same-sex" being used as a more inclusive "tag" but I suppose it fits just this situation.

    And Hairy, right on man. that was one of the major reasons I stopped supporting the Republicans.

  8. I venture to say that the libertarian wing of the Republican Party and members of the Libertarian Party in the USA don't give a rat's patoot who marries whom. I suppose they would limit this to humans, however.

  9. It's funny, as this seems to be one of the major differences between Republicans and Democrats. But like all things occasionally brave young men like Hairy and I buck party lines as the mavericks we are. I'm a democrat, but I'm of the opinion that the government should not be sanctioning any sort of marriage--hetro or homosexual. Not really any of their business as far as I'm concerned. If you want to have a church-sanctioned ceremony in accordance with whatever you believe, that is fine by me, and if you want to register with the government as some sort of 'united couple' voluntarily that's fine too. But the idea that I have to go get a license to get married kind of rubs me the wrong way. How do you feel about that Hairy? No marriages for anyone? I mean, clearly we've moved beyond this as any sort of reality, but you know, as a do-over scenario.

  10. Floridian in FinlandJanuary 24, 2009 at 5:04 AM

    Hi Hairy - this is completely unrelated but I couldn't find any contact information for you so I'm posting it here. Someone sent this to me and I thought you would appreciate it:

    About same sex marriage in northern Europe - I don't understand why civil unions are not sufficient especially up in these parts of the world where marriage doesn't seem as sacred (particularly among my age group). Most couples I know are in registered partnerships and having kids out of wedlock or have just been dating for ages.

  11. @smek – is there a movement in Finland for this? It seems like the Nordic countries often stick together on these sorts of social issues.

    @cosatrossa – Ill be perfectly honest, based solely on how religious I perceive spain to be, and from what little time I have spent there, I was a bit surprise to see Spain on the list. Not as surprised as seeing South Africa of course. But I did give a pause when I saw that. But the fact that Spain is somewhat religious and still allows it probably makes it that much cooler.

    @Daniel – words of wisdom from Daniel. And it’s true, and that falukorv was delicious. As were the root vegetables.

    @John S. – I think that’s probably the case for a quite a few people, whih would explain the word choice.

    @Ron – a good point. The libertarians tend to be against a lot of legislation that just increases the size and scope of government. I imagine marriage might be one of them.

    @The good Doctor – Oh another good political buzz word. Maverick. I like it.

    You bring up an interesting point, and one that I hadn’t really thought of to be honest. But you’re right, I’m not exactly sure why it needs to be sanctioned at all. I would imagine that it ties back to the church and all of that good stuff, but I think I might agree with you. Of course, maybe marriage licenses are a big revenue stream for the government. In which case they should just allow anyone to get married.

    But as yu said, it’s not really their business..

    @Floridian – here’s my email just in case aswedishamericaninsweden at gmail dot com.

    Thanks, that is a glorious link to metric conversions. I love it.

    Not being gay, or looking to get married any time soon, I can’t really speak from experience. But it might have something to do with the unashamed discrimination. Because, while sometimes I think people can go a bit too far with looking to make everything equal, it seems pretty blatant when the government says a certain group of people can’t get married.

    But you’re right, the relationship culture in Sweden at least, is really quite different compared to that of the US.

  12. I call myself a conservative, but my opinion on this subject is anyone can have a union (same/different gender) kind of like a justice-of-the peace ceremony or a drive thru in Vegas with an Elvis officiating. If you find a church that wants to call it a marriage, all the better and if you don't want to bother with a church you still have something official for the government to identify you for tax purposes, because that's all the gov't realy cares about anyway...

    P.S. XKCD is one of my favorite sites that I visit for every update.

  13. Let me start of by saying that I am in no way religious and that I am not aginst same-sex marriage. But I do see some problem when it comes too gays getting married in church. The thing is it says quite clearly in the bible that two people of the same sex should not be intimate with each other. And the force a priest to marry them just do not make sense to me. Mabye I am all wrong but that is how I see it.

  14. Fotbolls coachen; I can agree with that. But then the priest should have the option to chose himself. The government should have nothing to do with it, in my opinion.

  15. @anonymous - I guess I just dont understand why the church should have the final say in this.

    @fotbolls - the bible says a lot of things though. and a lot of those things get ignored. so why do we pick and choose?

    @izi - yeah I think Im going to go with you, I think it should be allowed. but I definitely dont think the government should have any say in it.

  16. I'm not too much into it to know better, but I think they can arrange same-sex weddings already in Finland. But they maybe are not 'real' weddings, because the priests use slightly different formulas in their speeches. They still look and feel the same.

  17. fair enough. but if they are being married by priests I would assume it should carry the same weight. but maybe not?

  18. Hairy, Spain is not all that religious apart from the south, at least in my view. And people are quite open-minded. Also, if you saw any of the Almodovar movies (which are full of funky characters, transvestits, gays, or regular citizens accepting the weirdness of life as normal), in fact, now that I live in Spain I do not find them so uncommon, this country has its liberal side. Suppose, this is the result of so many tears of repression under the rule of Franco (who enforced religion in all spheres of life, among other things).

  19. a good point, I would imagine when that sort of thing is forced upon you there would be a lot of pent up energy to let loose when youre free to do so.

  20. It really seems like such a silly matter to spend so much time and energy fighting. No matter how much squawking goes on people will STILL be gay and will STILL be in relationships. That has always been and will always be.

    Why not stop postponing the inevitable and get on with allowing marriage already? I promise no one's life will change for the worse (my family lives in Massachusetts, I'm gay and I'm married - I'm an authority on this now) and in fact one could argue that the community and family structure would actually improve for everyone. Shocking prospect I know.

    Further the Bible is not the final authority on how the Swedish or American government is run (although it may be the first that some of our more conservative leaders run to) so I think we need to stop invoking it's ancient rules and guidelines when it comes to governing the people.

    Oh - and legalizing gay marriage doesn't force a church to perform one nor does it mean they lose tax-exempt status for not peforming one - that bit is a myth that is peddled as fact.

    BTW - Love this blog!!!! :-)

  21. agreed. its kind of scary that the bible is used to legitimize so very many things.