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The Future Prospects and Predictions on Gay Marriage in Norway

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Has this idea ever come to your mind that one day Sheldon might marry someone before the season 11 coming out? Big Bang Theory is my second most like TV series. By the way, my favorite one is a Norwegian teen drama web series called SKAM, which is all about growth and love with all the flaws and mistakes we have made. I visited Oslo last summer as I want to see everything through my own eyes instead of the computer screen and I fall in love with her and am moving there around 2022. So, when it comes to choose the final topic, SKAM and their future marriage lifes came to my mind immediately. After further study, I found that, by the time Sana, my favorite actress in SKAM, turns 30 years old, the marriage situation in Norway will be characterized by more same sex marriage, higher separation and divorce date, and less marriage rate. The Norwegian society by then will be even inclusive and its citizens will be more openminded towards gay or lesbian and there will be an increase in same sex marriage as the government is paying attention and making a lot of efforts to ensure that LGBT people enjoys a safe and happy life in Norway as the King spread the idea to the whole world in his speech ” Norwegians are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and boys and girls who love each other”. However, the increasing of same sex marriage is followed by a higher separation and divorce rate in the future. Lesbians are more likely to end their marriages with a divorce than gay as women might have higher expectations in a marriage or a relationship than man, which is not only a Norwegian thing, but also worldwide spreading. Also, not only lesbian same sex marriage are facing challenges, studies shows that the separation and divorce rate will also be higher.

Compare to now, there will be more same sex marriage in the following 10 years. 1993 witnessed the legalization of the same sex partnership in Norway. People have been enjoying the right of entering into same sex marriage since 2009. In addition to legal support, the Norwegian government has introduced other protection plans. Government action plan to protect LGBT’s interest from Life cycle approach, working life, school and education, child and family policy, leisure, sports, equal and good health and care services, legal status, police and prosecuting authority to fighting discrimination against sexual minorities in international community. LGBT Knowledge Centre, a nation level center, was launched to further enhance the government action plan. As a result, compared to 2009, same sex marriage has been increased by 50 in number (SSB) Apart from that, the ‘Uke Sex’ program, a LGBT included one-week initiative was introduced by many Norwegian schools. In 2013, more than 54,000 students in grades 7 – 10 participated in the project, which includes restart (queer youth), MSO (Medical Student’s Sex Education), queer world, sex and society (Oslo) and projects “Sexual Health and Harassment” in South Trondelag County. And by that time, the children grew up from single sex background will become teenagers or even entering their young adulthood. The whole society will have higher tolerance of same sex marriage, which may also cause a rise in same sex marriage.

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The separation and divorce date will also be higher compared to now, especially lesbians. During the past 40 years, the divorce rate in the whole world has increased by more than twice, from 2.6 per 1000 married people in 1970 to 5.5 in 2018. Compared to China 1.13 in 1000 people, Norway’s number 4.54 is quite high. And according to the researcher, the divorce rate has a positive connection with economic development, percentage of women in labor workforce, education level, lower proportion of God believers in the society and engaging in International organizations. An example can be Convention to Eliminate All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In that case, individuals will be more likely to be influenced by norms like “to decide one’s own destiny of individualism and gender equality. (Wang, C.-T. L., & Schofer,) In 2010, 8987 divorces took place in Norway, after 8 years, the number increased to 9544. People aged between 40 and 44 are the most likely to break up. To decrease the 40% divorce rate, the new minister for Child, equality and social inclusion Soveig started a movement to encourage married couples to go on date night in a week, inspired by a film casted in 2010, which indicates that the high divorce rate has become a problem in Norway and draw significant attention from the government. However, the divorce rate might won’t quickly drooped down, actually it might worsen in the next 10 years. According to Ministry of Finance, Norway, Norwegian economy activities are likely to rise with the ongoing dropping unemployment, with the economic downturn following the sudden fall in oil prices in 2014 becoming history; And with the trending of Feminism activity going high in the whole world, it’s not hard to foresee that in the next decades, the amount of future family wife will keep dropping and more young women will be more likely to enter the work force. The development of automation also witnessed a huge increase in women’s enrollment into the workforce, which gets more common as country grows richer (Charles Kenny). In Norway, 32 per cent of the population has a higher education. This proportion has increased by 0.8 percentage points since last year, and by 25 percentage points since 1970(Statistics Norway). In 2015, 35.6% women has acquired higher education, increasing more than 10%, compared to 22% in 2010. It is the goal of the government that everyone should be able to get an education regardless of their social background. Welfare schemes for students are an instrument to achieve this. The Norwegian government is also pushing a better cooperation with Russia, India, China, Brazil etc new important countries and the Government proposes an increase of NOK 600 million to the long-term plan for research and higher education in 2018. With that being done, it’s not hard to further increase the higher education enrollment; About the amount of god believer, atheism is a growing trend in Norway according to a new survey, which reveals that a majority of Norwegians don’t believe in god. 37% citizens claimed that they still have faith in God while 39% gave an negative answer ” (Norsk Monitor). And individuals have become more tolerant over the years, towards LBGT. Thus, referring the positive connection found by Wang and Schofer, the divorce and separation rate might grow higher in the future.

22% of the 746 same-sex marriage took place during 1993 to 2010 came to an end by 2012 and it might go even higher in the next decade, especially lesbian. In 2018, 25 male same sex marriage came to divorce and separation, which is far less than 55 in lesbian marriage. Compare the past 8 years data, lesbian divorce rate was always significantly higher than single male relationship. In 2016, it’s 70-21, more than 2 times higher. (Statistics Norway) This might be caused by women’s commitment sooner than men and having higher expectations according to sociologists. Gunnar Andersson, professor of demography at Stockholm University, previously found in successive studies that women in Norway, Sweden and Denmark were twice as likely to dissolve their civil partnerships than men. “This reflects trends in a heterosexual marriage because women are more prone to say they want to marry – but they’re also more likely to initiate a divorce,’ (The Independent).

Less people will get married in the next 10 years, compared to 2018. Actually, the registered marriage amount was slightly higher than before. However, according to Christer Hyggen it has more to do with the institution’s decline. Many older couples who already shared a period of cohabitating and might already have more than one kid, finally registered husband and wife in their late 30s even 40s. These couples belong to the first generation that accepts rearing the first born child out of wedlock. Between 1990 and 2000, Norway’s out-of-wedlock birthrate rose from 39 to 50 percent. The enthusiasm to get married will be decreased through legalized cohabitation and out-of- wedlock children no difference welfare policy and the changes of people’s thinking towards traditional marriage. The sentence our love is what matters, not a piece of paper, which sounded more often in France now find its position in Norway. 20,949 couples got married in Norway last year, the lowest level in 25 years which is more than 1000 less, compared to 2017 (Statistics Norway) State statistics bureau SSB reports that fewer marriages hadn’t been performed since 1994. Norway also had a much smaller population then, 975,000 less than it is now. (News in English.no) Also, many people marry after they have children — not before. “The median age at first marriage in Norway is an astounding 39 for men and 38 for women, according to a recent estimate—six to eight years higher than the median age at first childbirth.'(Andrew Cherlin) In 1983, the average age for male first marriage is 28.8, while in 2013, it’s 35.8; 26 and 32.4 for women respectively.

When Sana turns 30 years old, it more likely that she will remain unmarried and living together with someone or living alone since the average marriage age for women is still slowing growing and there is no action taken to stop it yet. If she found someone she decided to live with and married with at last, she would be luckier than her Norwegian fellas as the marriage rate will continually dropped. However, if one day she regretted about her decision and wanted a divorce, she won’t be alone as sadly more and more people are getting a divorce and separation. As a Muslim, she might not enter a same-sex marriage. However, if she changes her mind, she won’t find it difficult to marry a girl since the society will be even opener by then than now. The true difficulty by then would be how to keep that lesbian relationship working. From a larger scale, in the next decade, thanks to the tremendous effort made by the government in the past and ongoing program, the Norwegian society by then will be even inclusive and its citizens will be more openminded towards gay or lesbian and there will be an increase in same sex marriage. However, there is no perfect things in the world-the increasing of same sex marriage is followed by a higher separation and divorce rate in the future. Also, not only same sex marriages are facing challenges, studies show that the separation and divorce rate will also be higher. The divorce rate has a positive connection with economic development, percentage of women in labor workforce, education level, lower proportion of God believers in the society and engaging in International organizations. The Norwegian economy is likely to steadily grow in the next decades according to the Ministry of Finance of Norway. More women will enter into workforce as the ever growing enthusiasm of feminism activity and the further development of automation. The government is working to increasing the higher education level. And the whole Norwegian society is becoming more openminded towards same sex marriage with more people becoming atheist. Thus, the divorce rate will keep growing in the future. Apart from that, less people will get married in the next 10 years, compared to 2018. The enthusiasm to get married will be decreased through legalized cohabitation and out-of- wedlock children no difference welfare policy and the changes of people’s thinking towards traditional marriage. And the first marriage age has been growing steadily according to the SSB reports, average 32.6 years old in 2013 and 38.5 years old in 2018.

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