May 292015

Right on the heels of Ireland, Greenland’s parliament unanimously approved gay marriage and adoption.  An independent country, but closely aligned to Denmark, Greenland had the world’s first lesbian prime minister.  Denmark legalized same-sex marriage in 2012.  Greenland now becomes the 20th country to give gays and lesbians to right to marry.

Johanna Sigurdardott happily married lesbian ex-Prime Minister of Greenland

Johanna Sigurdardott happily married lesbian ex-Prime Minister of Greenland

Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, the first openly LGBT person to head a national government, was elected in 1978, before becoming prime minister in 2009.  She has since retired.

Greenland and Denmark

Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark and has been self-governing since 2009.  Greenland adopted Denmark’s civil union law in 1996.   It did not follow Denmark’s lead, when Denmark legalized gay marriage in 2012.


Greenland is a large ice mass in North America populated by just 57,000 people, most of whom are Inuit.

1. In Viking legends, Greenland is described exactly as its name suggests: a green, fertile land. Today, however, only around 16% of Greenland is actually green. The rest of the land is covered with ice.

2. Despite having a land area the size of Mexico, Greenland has no road or railway system. Traveling between towns and villages is done by plane, helicopter, boat, or dogsled.

3. In winter, it is possible to reach the northern settlements of Greenland from Canada’s Ellesmere Island on foot. However, harsh weather conditions and global warming thwart any attempts of ever repeating the same feat that the Vikings and the Inuit did in the past.

4. Greenland and Thailand might be worlds apart, but there is actually a genuine Thai restaurant in Nuuk. They even have a hearty serving of thom kha soup.

5. Some Greenlanders take offense when they are referred to as Eskimos. The proper name for a Greenlander is Kalaallit.

6. For a barren place like Greenland, ruby and other gemstones are in surprising abundance. There may come a time when gemstone mining could overtake the traditional fishing industry in the country.

7. Greenland’s official language, Kalaallisut, is one of the most challenging languages to learn, as most words are hard to pronounce and often feature swallowed consonants.

8. In cities like Los Angeles, almost everyone owns a car; in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, almost everyone owns a boat.

9. Greenlanders are so fond of bright colors that all houses and most buildings in the country are painted with different hues of blue, orange, red, green, and yellow.

10. In 1946, the United States thought of purchasing Greenland from Denmark – but the European kingdom refused to sell the island.

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