March set the scene for a bunch of local happenings, news and initiatives. We have summarized the most important news from March – Please enjoy!
Date set for first same-sex church wedding in Denmark
On the 13th of March the Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, held a press conference announcing that marriage of same-sex couples will be possible in Danish churches from the 15th of June 2012.
However, it remains up to the priests themselves to decide whether they want to consecrate homosexuals or not. Two days after the Prime Minister’s announcement a survey among more than 500 Danish priests was published indicating that 33 % of the priests will refuse the consecration of same-sex couples. Priests that do not support the new bill claim that such a law will result in internal conflicts within the church. At the same time moderate or progressive voices within the church claim that doubts will disappear once the priests meet the same-sex couples and realize that they are just two more people loving one another.
Debate on hate and intolerance
March 2012 began with a 12-hour debate on hate and intolerance in Denmark. The Society and Integration Minister, Karen Hækkerup, and the Minister of Justice, Morten Bødskov, invited representatives from state and local governments, businesses, organizations, culture and research institutions and housing associations to think about and discuss new strategies against discrimination and hate crimes.
In the open and generally safe society of Denmark hate crimes still occur and are typically driven by differences in ethnicity, sexual orientation, creed or political beliefs.
Mayor to put pressure on St. Petersburg Governor
Jacob Bundgaard, Mayor of Aarhus, the second biggest city in Denmark and official sister city of St. Petersburg planned together with Amnesty Denmark and Pride Aarhus to make a last attempt to put pressure on the Governor of the Russian city, St. Petersburg. The aim of this outcry was to have the Governor decline the bill defining any public reference of homosexuality as illegal propaganda.
Unfortunately the bill was passed despite loud international protests, silencing the St. Petersburg LGBT community.
Uganda´s “Kill the Gays Bill” causes stirr in the Danish Congress
Uganda’s highly critized Anti-homosexuality bill, proposed by one of the country’s parliament member, has caused a stirr in the Danish Congress as the current Minister of Development in Denmark, Christian Friis Bach, beliefs that economic support to Uganda as a developing country should remain untouched, in spite of what may come to pass in regards to the country´s gay rights and the “Kill the Gays bill”.
Moreover, the newly appointed Minister of Development, has stated officially that he does not agree with the threats to cut off developmental aid provided to Uganda as his Danish predecessor, and the current British PM, David Cameron, have previously announced in their statements to Ugandan officials, should this bill come to pass as law.
A Lesbian Café voted “Café of the year” by the general public
Every year, ibyen.dk, nominates a handful of places within different categories, such as restaurants, bars and cafés in their online competition for “Café of the year” or “Bar of the year” where the ultimate winner in each category is the place that receives the most votes from readers. This year the lesbian café, Lesbisk Kaffe og Ølbar, located in Copenhagen, won the price for “Café of the year”.
The café, which opened up for its first customers in November, 2011, is owned and run by a lesbian couple, who sensed a need for a place in the Copenhagen gay scene where women who love other women could meet up during the daytime and enjoy a good cup of coffee. Earlier this year the café, which turns into a bar at night, won the yearly award, Axgil, in the category “gay place of the year”.
First time ever Aarhus Pride Parade
The LGBT citizens of Aarhus have one more reason to be excited about summer this year. On June 9th 2012 the Aarhus Pride Parade will fill up the streets of Denmark’s largest city with colors, joy and pride for the first time ever. Prior to this year, Pride festivals have only been held in the country’s capital, Copenhagen.
LGBT themed theater plays
On the cultural scene the month of March illustrated the image and relationships of LGBT persons in a truly honest way. The month had 3 theater plays in Copenhagen with LGBT interest; “Lebbe Love” (Lesbian Love) by the gay theater group ‘Hils din Mor’, “EVOL: Love Backwards” by TeArt International theater group and “Seven”, a human right themed play featuring the Danish minister of Development Christian, Friis Bach, as a Guatemalan woman.