LGBT rights in Norway

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LGBT rights in Norway
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Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1972
Gender identity/expression Transsexual persons allowed to change legal gender
Recognition of
Registered partnerships from 1993–2009*
Same-sex marriage since 2009
*Existing partnerships remain valid, but no new partnerships accepted
Adoption Married and committed same-sex couples allowed to adopt
Military service Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly
Discrimination protections (see below)

Norway, like most of Scandinavia, is very liberal in regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights and it also became the first country in the world to enact an anti-discrimination law protecting homosexuals in certain areas.

Former laws against homosexuality

In 1972 Section 213 of the Penal Code, which prohibited sexual acts between men (but not women) was repealed. The law was last used in 1964. Following the repeal, the age of consent became equal at the same time of legalization at 16, regardless of gender and/or sexual orientation.

Recognition of same-sex relationships

Gender-neutral marriage[1] has been legally provided since 1 January 2009 in Norway.

A bill was proposed on 18 November 2004 by two MPs from the Socialist Left Party to abolish the existing civil union laws, and make marriage laws gender neutral. The move was withdrawn and replaced by a request that the cabinet further investigate the issue. The conservative cabinet of that time did not look into the issue. However, the second cabinet Stoltenberg announced a common, unified marriage act as part of its foundation document, the Soria Moria statement. A public hearing was opened on 16 May 2007.

On 29 May 2008, the Associated Press reported that two Norwegian opposition parties came out in favour of the new bill, assuring its passage when at the 11 June vote. Prior to this, there were some disagreements with members of the current three-party governing coalition on whether the bill had enough votes to pass.

The first parliamentary hearing, including the vote, was held on 11 June 2008 approving by 84 votes to 41 a bill that will allow same-sex couples to marry. This came after the Norwegian government proposed a marriage law in 14 March 2008, that would give lesbian and gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals, including church weddings, adoption and assisted pregnancies. The new legislation amended the definition of civil marriage to make it gender neutral. Norway's upper house passed a new equality law with 23-17 vote in favor of the gender neutral marriage. The King of Norway granted royal assent thereafter. The law took effect on 1 January 2009.

Adoption and family planning

Married and committed same-sex couples are permitted to adopt under Norwegian law. Stepchild adoption is also allowed for all married and committed couples. For lesbians artificial insemination is perfectly legal and is paid for by the state.

Additionally—pursuant to the law which legalized same-sex marriage—when a woman who is married to or in a stable co-habiting relationship with another woman becomes pregnant through artificial insemination, the other partner will have all the rights and duties of parenthood "from the moment of conception".

Military status

Homosexuals can serve openly in the Armed Forces.

Discrimination protections

In 1981, Norway became the first country in the world to enact a law to prevent discrimination against homosexuals by amending Paragraph 349a of its Penal Code, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the provision of goods or services and in access to public gatherings. In the same year, Paragraph 135a of the Penal Code was amended to prohibit hate speech directed at sexual minorities.[1]

There is still no general protection against anti-gay discrimination, beyond employment, housing and hate crimes and speech. As for anti-trans discrimination there is no protection whatsoever.

Living conditions

There is a fairly-sized gay scene in Oslo. Most of Norway is very gay-friendly, an example can be found in Norway's socially liberal Nordland County, where churches are seen to fly rainbow flags.

Summary table

Homosexuality legal Yes (since 1 March 1972)
Equal age of consent Yes (since 1 March 1972)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (since 1 March 1982)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes (since 1 March 1982)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas No
Same-sex marriage(s) Yes (since 1 January 2009)
Immigration rights for same-sex couples Yes (since 1993)
Recognition of same-sex couples Yes (since 1 January 1989 for unregistered cohabitation and 1 April 1993 for registered relationships - no new registered ones from 1 January 2009)
Both joint and step adoption by same-sex couples Yes (since 1 January 2009)
Gays allowed to serve in the military Yes (since 1 September 1994)
Right to change legal gender Yes (since 1 July 2000)
Access to artificial insemination/IVF for women married to or in stable relationships with women Yes (since 1 January 2009)
MSMs allowed to donate blood No (under review)

See also



*Some information provided in whole or in part by