LGBTQ+ rights

50 years on, Norway apologizes for law that criminalized gay sex

Reuters
50 years on, Norway apologizes for law that criminalized gay sex

FILE PHOTO: People gather in front of a huge rainbow balloon put up by members of Amnesty International and Hatter, an NGO promoting LGBT rights, at Hungary's parliament in Budapest, Hungary, July 8, 2021. REUTERS/Marton Monus/File Photo

REUTERS/Marton Monus/File Photo

Norway decriminalized homosexuality in 1972. It allowed civil partnerships for same-sex couples in 1993. Same-sex marriages were given equal status to heterosexual ones in 2009.

OSLO, Norway – The Norwegian government formally apologized to gay men on Wednesday, April 20, for a law that once criminalized sexual intercourse between men.

Some 119 individuals were convicted and sent to jail between 1902 and 1950 under a law that was abolished 22 years later, on April 21, 1972.

On the eve of the anniversary of its abolition, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said the government was issuing an official apology for the law.

“Through legislation, but also through a network of sanctions, we as a nation and society made it clear that we did
not accept queer love. The government wishes to apologize for that,” Stoere said.

Norway decriminalized homosexuality in 1972. It allowed civil partnerships for same-sex couples in 1993, the second country in the world to do so after Denmark. Same-sex marriages were given equal status to heterosexual ones in 2009.

“This law has destroyed many lives,” said Culture and Equality Minister Annette Trettebergstuen, who is a lesbian, speaking after the prime minister.

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