Your Rights in Sweden
Equal Before the Law
According to Swedish law it is illegal to discriminate against anyone because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. There are no laws in Sweden that forbid sexual contact between people of the same sex. Relationships between people of the same sex are widely accepted. The legal age of consent for all sexual activity is 15 years old.
When it comes to co-habitation or “living together,” the law is the same for everyone, homosexual and heterosexual alike. Since 2009 people of the same sex can get married. The old law “registered partnership,” which was a civil union that afforded almost the same rights as marriage between a man and a woman, was then replaced by a gender neutral marriage law. Couples who are in a same sex marriage have the same rights and obligations as heterosexual married couples, includig the possibility of joint parenthood of children and the right for lesbians to receive medically assisted insemination.
Discrimination Is Illegal
The Ombudsman Against Discrimination (DO) is the government authority that works against homophobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is defined as unjust or offensive treatment that is related to homosexuality, bisexuality or heterosexuality.
DO also works against discrimination on the grounds of gender, including gender identity.
Asylum and Residence Permits
People who have been persecuted in their native countries due to their homosexuality may be granted asylum in Sweden. As a rule, persecution is defined as actions performed by the authorities in the asylum-seeker’s native country. An application for asylum can only be handed in after entering Sweden, not from, for example, a Swedish embassy abroad.
If a person has been the partner of someone of the same sex for a longer period of time, they may be able to apply for a Swedish residence permit. As a general rule, applicants are required to apply for a residence permit from their native country. The rules for a live-in partner are the same as for those who have a registered partnership.
For further information, contact the Swedish Migration Board.