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Faeroe Islands
ban discrimination against gay people

Faeroe Islands
ban discrimination against gay people

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The Faeroe Islands on Friday voted to ban discrimination against gay people on the Danish semiautonomous territory between Scotland and Iceland.

The Faeroe Islands on Friday voted to ban discrimination against gay people in the Danish semiautonomous territory. In a 17-15 vote, Faeroese lawmakers included the words sexual orientation in the islands' antidiscrimination law. The issue had been under heated debate on the islands after the 32-member Lagtinget last year turned down a similar proposal. Those who opposed the bill argued that homosexuality is against the Bible. "We're very, very happy. To us it has been a matter of human rights," said Annita a Fridriksmoerk, who proposed the bill together with a Republican Party colleague. "The Faeroese law was limping behind other modern societies," she said by telephone. About 48,000 people live on the Faeroe Islands, a tiny fishing community between Scotland and Iceland that has strong Christian traditions. Discrimination against gay people on the islands is rare but became a hot topic in September after Rasmus Rasmussen, a 25-year-old openly gay musician, allegedly was assaulted by five men in Torshavn, the capital. Police were reluctant to investigate the case as a hate crime, saying discrimination against gays was not illegal on the Faeroes. In 1989, Denmark became the first country to recognize same-sex partnerships, but the Faeroe Islands still opposes such unions. The Danish territory has wide-ranging autonomy to set its own laws except on defense and foreign policy matters. (AP)

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