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Sweden is considered to be one of the most gay-friendly countries in Europe and possibly the world when it comes to laws surrounding homosexuality. Due to the strong sense of secularism dominating in most of the country and government, Sweden today is seen as a campaigner of gay rights. Despite this same-sex marriage is still not legal, although civil unions are considered to be marriage within Swedish law. Sweden may be the seventh country to legalize SSMs, sometime in 2009.
Age of consentEdit
Homosexuality was legalised in 1944, the age of consent at the time after 1944 was 18. In 1987, a law against sex in gay saunas and prostitution was created to prohibit the spread of HIV, but this was repealed in 2004. Since 1972, there has been an equal age of consent set at 15, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender.
Homosexuals are not banned from Military Service.
Protection based on sexual orientation in lawEdit
The Swedish Constitution bans discrimination on grounds of "sexual orientation". In 1987 discrimination against gay men and lesbians was included in the section of the penal code which deals with discrimination on grounds of race, etc. And since 2002 the portal section of the constitution bans discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. The Swedish Ombudsman against Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation (Ombudsmannen mot diskriminering på grund av sexuell läggning), normally referred to as HomO, is the Swedish office of the ombudsman against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. HomO is the most recently instituted Swedish ombudsman, in the sense of a government official who addresses the complaints of individual citizens.
The term HomO is used both to refer to the office and as the title of its government-appointed acting head, at present HomO Hans Ytterberg. HomO investigates the grievances of individuals and files class action suits on their behalf, for example a recently successful action against a restaurant owner in Stockholm who had harassed a lesbian couple. The HomO office also takes a number of initiatives of its own and submits parliamentary proposals, most recently for a gender neutral marriage act. The Swedish LGBT organisation RFSL (Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights) was founded in 1950.
Recognition of same sex couplesEdit
It has been possible for same-sex couples to register their partnership since 1995. These partnerships have all the rights of marriages except "as provided by sections 3-4". As well, all provisions of a stature or any other legislation related to marriage or spouses apply to registered partnerships and partners, except as under sections 3-4.
Since 2002, LGBT people have full adoption rights, if in a registered partnership. Those partnerships have been able to adopt children both from Sweden and outside the country. The bill is the product of 18 months of research which showed that gay couples are just as capable as their heterosexual counterparts of caring for and rearing a child. However, in practice the law has meant little since most of the adoption agencies have held a negative view on homosexuals as parents and many of the countries they have contact with are strongly against homosexuality; homosexual couples who have gone through the social authorities' thorough investigatory process and given a go-ahead signal have in the end been met with a cold hand.
In 2005, a new law was passed allowing lesbian couples to be treated for assisted insemination in public hospitals.
The former Social Democratic government appointed a commission to investigate the possibilities of same-sex marriages in Sweden. In 2008, the Riksdag is supposed to vote on a change in the law concerning marriages. The parties in the Riksdag and their opinions of same-sex marriages (presented in order of size in the Riksdag):
|Party||Legalizing same-sex marriages|
|Social Democratic Party||Yes|
|Liberal People's Party||Yes|
On March 16, 2007, the High Council of the Church of Sweden gave the green light for blessing same-sex marriages in the church. However, a formal decision by the Kyrkomötet has not been taken yet. The High Council want to reserve the name marriage to heterosexual couples because this matter is strongly taboo in the Church of Sweden's internal organization. A same-sex marriage will have exactly the same judicial rights and the same ceremony as an opposite-sex marriage. If same-sex marriage passes the Kyrkomötet the Swedish Church will become one of the first churches in the world allowing same-sex weddings. 
Gay life in the countryEdit
Sweden is generally very gay-friendly with a whole raft of legislation protecting gay and lesbian rights including anti-discrimination law and partnership registration. A recent European Union member poll showed 71% of Sweden support same sex marriage .
- ↑ Regeringsformen, 1 chapter, 2 paragraph
- ↑ Registration of Partnerships, http://www.homo.se/o.o.i.s/1630
- ↑ Swedish Government Offices. "Homosexual partnership and adoption", http://www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/2768/a/16217, (accessed on 6/5/2007).