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LGBTQ Rights in Denmark

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Staircase in rainbow colors in celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month
Staircase at the Clarion Hotel at Copenhagen Airport in celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, August 2019. Photo by Elin Hofverberg.

This upcoming Saturday, June 5, 2021, marks the Danish National Day (a.k.a. Constitution Day). I have previously marked the day by writing about Danish Law – Global Legal Collection Highlights (2017) and Constitution Day and Election Day in Denmark (2019).

This year, I thought I would highlight some laws related to LGBTQ rights in Denmark, given that June is also “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month” here in the United States.

Denmark was the first country in the world to recognize the civil status of same-sex partners with the adoption, in 1989 of a Domestic Partnership Act (Lov om registreret partnerskab (LOV nr 372 af 07/06/1989)) that allowed same-sex partners to register as domestic partners. Other Nordic countries were soon to follow and adopted similar acts: Norway in 1993, Sweden in 1994, Iceland in 1996, and Finland in 2002.

The original Danish Domestic Partnership Act has since been replaced with a gender-neutral definition of marriage, as part of a 2012 amendment to the Marriage Act (Ægteskabsloven). Persons in registered domestic partnership were then able to convert their partnership to a marriage. The gender neutral provision of the Marriage Act entered into force in Greenland in 2015, and the Faroe Islands in 2017. Ambassador Rufus Gifford became famous in Denmark when he starred in his own national television show called Jeg er ambassadøren fra Amerika (I am the Ambassador from America) and married his life-partner in Copenhagen in 2015. Having become a magnet for foreign couples seeking to marry, in 2019 Denmark issued specific rules on how and when an international marriage (between two non-citizens) conducted in Denmark is valid.

Under Danish law, same-sex couples are entitled to fertility treatments and may adopt children together. Surrogacy is not allowed or recognized. Female partners to birthmothers are considered co-mothers upon birth and registered as such in the national registry, provided that the pregnancy is the result of IVF treatments for which the partner has consented. Denmark’s laws on IVF treatments, allowing single mothers to undergo treatment using anonymous sperm donors, has attracted single women from abroad, regardless of their sexual orientation.

In 2014, Denmark simplified its legal gender change rules when it no longer required gender reassignment surgery to change a person’s legal gender, and enable the issuance of passports with “X” for gender to persons who “provide a written declaration that their wish to use the X designation is based in an experience of belonging to the other gender, or that the person has been issued a new personal identification number.” Under Danish law personal identification numbers includes information on the legal sex of the person.

If you are interested in obtaining news updates related to Danish law or LGBTQ rights you can subscribe to our Global Legal Monitor or follow this blog.

The Law Library also regularly publishes legal reports on various topics.


  1. Hello! Great post. Do you have to be a Danish citizen in order to be able to marry someone of your same sex/adopt in Denmark, or you just have to be a resident ?

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