40,000 – 50,000 people participated in the gay pride parade and festivities in downtown Reykjavík on Saturday. Minister of social affairs, Árni Magnússon, spoke to the crowd and said that he completely supported the rights of homosexuals to adopt children, to get married and for lesbians to receive fertility treatment.
Árni said that in 1996 a big step had been taken in the homosexual equal rights movement when legislation on civil union rights was passed, reports Fréttabladid. He continued to say that civil union rights were not enough, adoption and fertility treatment were issues that needed to be addressed seriously. “I agree with the view that the main goal of adoptions is to find a family for the child not find a child for the family. It is necessary to find the best possible conditions for the child and I believe they can be found with homosexuals as well as heterosexual parents.”
In his speech Árni called for more open and honest discussion regarding the rights of homosexuals to family life. Last Thursday, Baldur Thórhallsson, associate professor in Political Science at the University of Iceland, called for end to discrimination against homosexuals. Television station Stod 2 reported that Sólveig Pétursdóttir, former justice minister, called Baldur’s comments, on her being prejudiced towards homosexuals and child rearing, “ridiculous”. She said, “I would like to congratulate homosexuals and lesbians” but she was not willing to answer with a “yes or no” whether she believed homosexual couples should have the right to adopt.