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Iceland Likely to Permit Gay Marriage by June

Iceland, the tiny island country of 320,000 people in the North Atlantlc, will likely be the next nation to legalize same-sex marriage. Openly lesbian prime minister Johanna Sigurdardóttir presented a revision to current marriage law to the Icelandic parliament on March 23. The revision is widely expected to become law, and if (or when) it does, the first same-sex marriages could happen as early as June 27, 2010, the date of Gay Pride in the capital city of Reykjavík.

Since 1996, Iceland has had a legal domestic partnership registry for heterosexual and homosexual couples. Gay and lesbian equality was further stengthened in 2006 with laws guaranteeing the same social rights as heterosexuals to lesbian and gay men in the spheres of social security, taxation, labor, and other social services. Currently, registered same-sex couples also have the same access to adoption as heterosexuals who are married or in registered domestic partnerships.

In addition to the change in marriage law, parliamentarians are also considering expanding the rules on assisted reproduction to allow single women access to the various techniques for artificial insemination. Current Icelandic law allows only couples, including lesbian couples, to participate in assisted reproduction programs.

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 Despite its size, Iceland is a dynamic nation, and this includes its landscape. The recent eruption of a volcano in the remote area of Fimmvörðuháls has created a new mountain. Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs Katrín Jakobsdóttir has convened a committee to assist in naming the new landmark, but they are also seeking suggestions from the public. We at CarnalNation think that the name of the new mountain should in some way commemorate the Icelandic commitment to equality for gays and lesbians. Suggestions can be sent to the Ministry here.

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