Swedish politicians unite to support gay marriage

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The three opposition parties in Sweden have joined forces to put a proposal before the country’s parliament to legalise gay marriage.

Given the governing coalition’s slim majority, only four MPs would need to vote in favour of the opposition motion for it to pass.

Gay rights activists are confident that there is enough support to ensure the law is changed.

The Green party, Left party and Social Democrats’ motion, if passed, would make Sweden the fouth country in Europe to legalise gay marriage after Holland, Spain and Belgium.

Swedish gay and lesbian couples have had the right to civil partnerships since 1995, but many liberal politicians and LGB activists feel that they are out of date.

A parliamentary committee last year agreed, and recommended that gay couples be given full marriage rights, including the right to get married in the national Church of Sweden.

Until 2000 the Church was established, meaning was is the official state religion. It now has autonomy from the government.

In 2006 the church approved blessings of same-sex partnerships and actively welcomed LGBT clergy.

A tenth of the priests in the Church of Sweden signed a petition opposing gay and lesbian church weddings.

Opinion polls show that 46% of Swedes are in favour of gay marriage, with 31% opposed.