Copenhagen to fete Eurovision contest by marrying gay couples

COPENHAGEN Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:29am EDT

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The city of Copenhagen will perform wedding ceremonies for both homosexual and heterosexual couples from all around the world in the days leading up to Denmark's hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in May, the municipality said on Thursday.

"We have already scheduled 20-30 couples in our calendar -both Danish and foreigners. On the first of the three days, we start with three Russian gay marriages," office manager Flemming Otto, who is in charge of the event, told Reuters.

This year is the 25th anniversary for same-sex civil partnerships in Denmark, which was the first country in the world to allow such marriages.

"It's no secret that the Eurovision Song Contest will attract many people from the gay community to Copenhagen, and last year Denmark had new legislation that made it easier for us to marry foreigners of the same sex," Otto said.

This is the third time Denmark will be hosting the contest, which has a large following in the gay community and whose motto this year is "join us".

"We would like to strike a blow for the diversity and openness we have in Denmark. We are looking forward to marry all the happy couples, and I'm convinced we'll be very busy," Otto said.

The song contest, which is broadcast throughout the world and has launched such famous singers and pop groups as ABBA, will be held in Copenhagen's old dockyard B&W Halls, Denmark's biggest workplace until it closed in 1996.

The show will be hosted by Danish actor Pilou Asbaek, known globally from DR's TV series "Borgen".

Copenhagen municipality will marry couples on May 7, 8 and 10 at three different popular locations in Copenhagen.

(Editing by Shida Chayesteh, Michael Roddy and Mark Heinrich)