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Norway parliament approves same-sex marriage law

[JURIST] The Norwegian parliament approved a law [legislative materials, PDF, in Norwegian] Tuesday allowing same-sex marriage in the country. The new law replaces 1993 legislation that granted same-sex couples the right to enter into civil partnerships. The bill was proposed [JURIST report] in the Norwegian parliament, the Storting [official website], by the Standing Committee on Family and Cultural Affairs [committee member list], and passed by the Storting's informal lower house [Aftenposten report] last week. The bill received final legislative approval from the Storting's informal upper house, the Lanting, Tuesday. The new law allows same-sex couples to be married in a church, but does not require a minister or religious organization to perform the ceremony. It will take effect January 1, 2008. AP has more.

The new Norwegian law came on the same day that same-sex couples were allowed to marry in California, under the Supreme Court of California's landmark ruling [text, PDF; JURIST report] allowing same-sex marriage in the state. With the new law, Norway becomes the fourth European country to recognize same-sex marriage. Currently, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands are the only European countries to recognize same-sex marriage, although a number of others, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Denmark, and Croatia, recognize some form of civil union or registered partnership [ILGA backgrounder]. Earlier this month, the Greek justice minister denounced [JURIST report] the first same-sex marriages to take place in the country under a controversial and non-judicial interpretation of the country's constitution.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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