Sweden moves toward full marriage for gay couples:

Since 1987, Sweden has recognized "registered partnerships" for gay couples. Gradually, the Swedish parliament has added additional rights to the partnerships so that now gay couples enjoy substantially all of the rights of marriage. The partnerships are thus the equivalent of what we would call civil unions in the United States.

A Swedish government commission has just concluded that Sweden should now recognize full marriage rights for same-sex couples and concurrently abolish the system of registered partnerships. Same-sex partnerships, under the proposal, would automatically be made marriages unless the partners withdrew from the arrangement before a certain date. The report is in Swedish, one of the many languages I don't read, but there is an English language summary available at pp. 31-48 of the report.

I know almost nothing about Swedish politics, but the correspondent who alerted me to the report, Niclas Berggren, tells me that parliament is likely to adopt the proposal. Berggren works for the Ratio Institute in Stockholm, a private research institute focusing on entrepreneurship, institutional economics, and the political economy of reform.

If Sweden does recognize same-sex marriages, I believe it would become the first country/jurisdiction to move from civil unions to full gay marriage. That would help to relieve some of the concern that civil unions are a dead-end for gay couples. The concurrent abolition of civil unions would also give some comfort to those of us, like me, who believe that alternative statuses (civil unions, domestic partnerships) should be available only to same-sex couples and only as a temporary step toward full marriage, not as a permanent alternative to marriage