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Same-sex marriage

In Greenland

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Map of the Northern Hemisphere with Greenland shown in green:

map of northern hempsphere

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Timeline of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights in Greenland:

  • 1933: Same-gender sexual activity by adults in private in Greenland was decriminalized by the Government of Denmark.

  • 1977: The age of consent for same-sex couples was equalized to match that of opposite-sex couples, also by Denmark.

  • 1979: The Home Rule Act was passed by Denmark to give Greenland government autonomy over internal matters.

  • 1996: Greenland adopted Denmark's registered partnership law. Registered Partnerships are called inooqatigiittut nalunaarsorsimasut in the Greenlandic language. Under this law, couples obtained most of the benefits and protections of marriage.
  • 2015-MAR-25, a bill was introduced into Greenland's Parliament to allow same-sex couples to marry. It was given first reading.

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2015-MAY-29: Greenland's Parliament legalized same-sex marriage:

One week after a country-wide referendum in Ireland approved of marriage equality, the Government of Greenland unanimously approved a bill to do the same.

Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but its Parliament has been given autonomy over local legislation since 1979.

Marriage equality was supported by many Lutherans, which is the dominant religion in Greenland and Denmark.

The bill was unanimously approved with a vote of 27 members in favor, none opposed, and two absent members. That is a world first!

The new law will go into effect on Thursday, 2015-OCT-01. On that date, the Registered Partnership law will be repealed. Same-sex couples will be able to initiate an application for joint adoption starting at that date.

This makes Greenland approximately the 22nd country to attain marriage equality. The exact number depends on how one counts Wales, Ireland and Finland:

  • Some commentators treat England and Wales as separate countries when counting the total number with marriage equality.

  • Finland's government passed a bill legalize same-sex marriage during 2015, but it will not come into effect until 2017.

  • The people of Ireland passed a referendum with over 60% majority to legalize marriage, but there are some routine steps that must be taken before the results of the referendum become official.

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About Greenland:

About 80% of Greenland is covered by ice. Only a small part is occupied by humans, probably giving it the lowest population density of any large country in the world. The total population is only about 56,000, and has remained relatively stable in recent years. Built-up areas are only access able by plane or boat; there are no inter-urban roads. Its suicide rate is, by far,the highest in the world: about 83 per 100,000 persons per year (117 by men; 45 by women).

The total population of lesbians and gays in Greenland is probably on the order of 3,000 persons. Probably, a similar number have a bisexual orientation.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. LGBT rights in Greenland, Wikipedia as on 2015-MAY-31, at
  2. Steve Williams, "Greenland’s Parliament Unanimously Approves Same-Sex Marriage," Care2, 2015-MAY-29, at:
  3. List of Countries by Suicide Rate," Wikipedia, as on 2015-JUN-03, at:

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Site navigation: Home > "Hot" religious topics and conflicts > Abortion access > here

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Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2015-JUN-03
Last updated 2015-JUN-03
Author: Bruce A Robinson
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