It was a historic event in the world in 1989 when Denmark legalized same-sex partnership, followed by Norway (1993), Sweden (1994), Iceland (1996) and Finland (2002),
Lately, country after country and in the U.S., state after state, has begun to recognize gay relationships.
Jens Rydström, associate professor at the Centre for Gender Studies, Lund University, gave his analysis of the consequences of gay marriage in Scandinavia, during a lecture at Columbia University on October 11.
Rydström has studied the interaction between gay activism and traditional party politics and traces the origins of laws that at first were extremely controversial – inside and outside the gay community – but have now gained broad popular and political support.
His recent book "Odd couples - A history of Gay Marriage in Scandinavia" examines what happens when homosexuals who consider themselves outsiders, are suddenly allowed the warm opportunity of entering a partnership or marriage.
Only 30 years ago, same-sex marriage was something extremely controversial. Today it has gained popular and strong political support, yet in for instance the Faroe Islands, the most religious part of the Nordic areas, gay couples are still fighting for their rights to same-sex marriage. In addition, there are over 80 countries where homosexuality is illegal, and many carry punishments, which include death.
The evening was sponsored by the Columbia Swedish Program with the assistance of the American Scandinavian Foundation, the Consulate General of Sweden in New York, and the Swedish Institute.
For more info in the Swedish program at Columbia, see The Swedish Program at Columbia University