Chain Votes To Ban Discrimination Against Gays
by The Associated Press
Posted: December 15, 2006 1:00 pm ET
(Copenhagen) The Faeroe Islands on Friday voted to ban
discrimination against gays on the
Danish semi-autonomous territory between Scotland and Iceland.
In a 17-15 vote, Faeroese legislators included the words ``sexual
orientation'' in the islands' anti-discrimination law.
The issue had been under heated debate on the islands after the 32-member
Lagtinget last year turned down a similar proposal. Those who opposed the bill
argued that homosexuality was against the Bible.
``We're very, very happy. To us it has been a matter of human rights,'' said
Annita a Fridriksmoerk, who proposed the bill together with a Republican party
colleague. ``The Faeroese law was limping behind other modern societies.''
About 48,000 people live on the Faeroe Islands, a tiny fishing community with
strong Christian traditions.
Discrimination against gays and lesbians on the islands is rare but
became a hot topic in September after Rasmus Rasmussen, a 25-year-old openly gay
musician, allegedly was assaulted by five men in Torshavn, the capital.
Police were reluctant to investigate the case as a hate crime, saying
discrimination against gays was not illegal on the Faeroes.
In 1989, Denmark became the first country to legalize same-sex partnerships,
but the Faeroe Islands still opposes such unions.
The Danish territory has wide-ranging autonomy to set its own laws, except on
defense and foreign policy matters.