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Legalizing same-sex unions in Europe: innovations and paradoxes.

Population and Societies

424, June 2006

Twelve European countries have introduced partnership or marriage between spouses of the same sex. The rights granted to registered same-sex couples vary between countries: similar to those of married different-sex couples in the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and Belgium, but far short of marriage in France and Germany. Curiously, in the Nordic countries, which offer equivalent rights to all types of couples and where public opinion is very liberal onthe issue, fewer same-sex unions are registered than in Belgium (and maybe France). This is probably because registration offers few additional benefits in the Nordic countries, where de facto couples already enjoy substantial rights.

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