Greenland’s same-sex marriage law went into effect today (April 1st).
The marriage bill, which is an adoption of Denmark’s matrimonial laws, was passed unanimously by both the Greenlandic Parliament and Danish Parliament.
The two-year long journey from the first marriage bill’s submission to marriage equality in Greenland began back in 2014 when the same-sex marriage bill was presented, but put on hold due to Greenland’s ex-Prime Minister having to step down.
After Greenland’s November 2014 snap elections, the marriage bill was approved by the Greenlandic Parliament on a vote of 27-0 in May of 2015. It was then sent to Danish MPs who had to officially approve the proposal due to Denmark’s 2012 equal marriage law stating that Greenland and Faroe Islands, both Danish constituent territories, would not be affected by the 2012 marriage law.
Originally, Greenland’s marriage bill was scheduled come into effect on October 1st, 2015 after receiving a standard three readings from the Danes, but it lapsed because of Denmark’s summer Parliamentary elections. A second, almost-identical bill was submitted to Danish Parliament in October of 2015 where it received universal ratification in January and Royal Assent in early February of this year.
The final vote in Denmark’s Parliament to amend the 2012 law and allow the island to celebrate same-sex weddings was simply a formality and they gladly voted in favor of the bill.
Greenland’s Bishop has welcomed the arrival of a gender-neutral marriage law and the Greenlandic Church worked closely with the government to amend the portion of the Danish law that covered same-sex blessings in religious weddings.
The joint adoption clause that was included in Greenland’s new Marriage Act will go into effect on July 1st.
A recent statement on the Greenlandic Parliament’s website celebrated the arrival of marriage equality:
On 01 April 2016, the latest change of the Marriage Act shall enter into force for Greenland. The change makes it possible for homosexuals to get married – civilly or religiously.
Minister for the Church, Nivi Olsen, says: “We have long waited for this day. To have the opportunity to enter into marriage means a lot to many couples regardless of the gender of one’s partner. I am therefore pleased that a united Parliament adopted in 2010, finally made it a reality. “
The Department for Education, Science, Culture and Church Affairs, in collaboration with the bishop’s office, prepared the practical implications of the amendment, and on Thursday, March 31, the Minister for the Church has officially authorized the new rituals for same-sex weddings in the church.
The Government warmly welcomes this new opportunity and the national church rejoices that we are ready for the new era.
Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Church
For more information on the LGBT rights situation in Greenland, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Greenland