After only brief debate and token opposition, the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) overwhelmingly votes for gender-neutral marriage, allowing same-sex couples in the Scandinavian country to marry.
Radio Sweden reports the center-right coalition government was "split on the issue with the Christian Democrats the only party to oppose the extension of the term 'marriage' to include non-heterosexuals. But in a free vote in parliament 261 MPs voted in favor of the reform, 22 voted no, while 16 abstained.
"Same-sex couples have been able to become civil partners in Sweden since 1995, and the law change doesn’t automatically make them husband and husband or wife and wife, if they want to get married they will have to either have a new ceremony, or send in an application to get the partnership converted into a marriage."
The law becomes effective May 1. Sweden becomes the seventh nation to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, joining Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, neighboring Norway, South Africa and Spain. Only Connecticut and Massachusetts in the United States allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.