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Gay Couple Sues Swedish Government For Marriage Recognition
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: May 12, 2008 - 3:00 pm ET

(Stockholm) A gay couple married in Canada has filed suit against the Swedish government for refusing to recognize the marriage.

Lars Gardfeldt and Lars Arnell say that Swedish income tax authority regards they as having only a civil union, while recognizing the foreign marriages of opposite-sex couples.

The federal court agreed to hear the case after lower courts rejected the couple's case.

If the couple is successful Gardfeldt and Arnell would become the first legally married gay couple in Sweden.

Sweden allows civil partnerships. Under a law enacted in 1995 same-sex couples haves most of the rights and obligations of marriage to gay and lesbian couples who register. But it did not provide for adoption of IVF.

In 2003 the law was amended to allow registered partners to adopt children and since 2006 women in registered partnerships have been allowed to receive in vitro fertalization.

A parliamentary committee studying the issue has called civil partnerships outdated and recommended Parliament allow same-sex marriage. 

Six of Sweden's seven political parties support the legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry, leaving only the small Christian Democratic Party opposing the measure.

Although tiny in numbers the Christian Democrats form part of a four party coalition government and the party has been successful in thwarting government attempts to bring in a gay marriage bill.

In January a public opinion poll found that 70-percent of the electorate support the principal of same-sex marriage.

Last year the powerful Church of Sweden voiced its approval for gender neutral church weddings but said its liturgy would call them partnerships and reserve in the word marriage for opposite-sex marriages.

The denomination describes itself as Evangelical Lutheran and its membership includes about 75 percent of Sweden's population. 2008


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