One church minister is doing everything in his power to push gay marriage legislation in Denmark.
The government is planning to propose legislation at the beginning of the year, the Copenhagen Post reports. Manu Sareen, the coalition government's church minister, said he hopes to see same-sex marriages legalized in the Church of Denmark by Spring 2012.
Currently, gay couples are allowed to join together through "registered partnerships," a civil union, the Copenhagen Post points out. Denmark was the first country to legalize civil unions in 1989, but the couples still cannot marry in the Church of Denmark.
"I look forward to the moment the first homosexual couple steps out of the church. I'll be standing out there throwing rice," Sareen told Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper.
Danish political parties are reportedly "extremely gay friendly," and many officials took part in the discussion to allow same-sex weddings in the church, an August article in the Copenhagen Post explains.
Scotland and England are both considering same-sex legislation for next year, but like other countries, officials there have faced opposition, namely from the Catholic Church, ATV Today reports.
A May 2011 article in the Copenhagen Post indicates that about 75 percent of Danes support same-sex marriages through the church. Religious leaders acknowledge the public's support for gay marriage and have expressed that a compromise -- such as a "specific marriage ritual for homosexual couples" -- might be the way to go.
New York state legalized same-sex marriages in June 2011. In 2000, Vermont became the first US state to "provide same-sex couples with rights, benefits and responsibilities similar to those of heterosexual couples, including medical decision-making, tax breaks and inheritance," CBC News reports.
Belgium, Canada, Norway, Iceland, Argentina are among the countries that all allow gay marriage today, ATV Today points out.