From Iceland — Law On Religious Legislation To Be Changed

Law On Religious Legislation To Be Changed

Published May 3, 2012

A new bill would change an existing law on how children are registered with religious organisations, but equal rights groups believes the changes do not go far enough.
Previously, all children born in Iceland were automatically registered with the national church, unless otherwise specified by the parents. As it stands now, newborn children are registered automatically with the religious organisation of their biological mother.
Morgunblaðið now reports that this law will be changed. The bill alters the existing legislation slightly, adding the stipulation that if a child’s parents are registered with two different religious organisations, they will need to arrive at an agreement, and then register the child themselves into the religious group of their choosing, if any.
However, the Centre for Gender Equality argues that the legislation does not go far enough – they would like to see the parents arriving at an agreement regarding what religious organisation to register their child in all instances; not just when the parents are of two different religious groups. The Icelandic Human Rights Center seconded this position, while expressing overall satisfaction with the bill.
Departing bishop Karl Sigurbjörnsson railed against the change, saying that it would be damaging to society and religious organisations. He argued that the process of deciding what religious organisation to register a child into can be an entirely too complicated process.
The bill, introduced by the Ministry of the Interior, is still pending a parliamentary vote.

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