Finnish Parliament approves same-sex marriage

The Finnish Parliament has approved a bill allowing same-sex marriage. The vote was 105 to 92, with one MP absent.

Thousands of people - pro and con - demonstrated on Citizens' Square across from Parliament House. Image: Yle

Thousands of people – pro and con – demonstrated on Citizens’ Square across from Parliament House. Image: Yle

The Finnish Parliament voted on Friday afternoon to allow gender-neutral marriage, 105-92. The vote had been expected to be closer.

The gender-neutral marriage bill was seventh on the list of 15 votes. Four MPs out of the 200 MPs were absent on the first vote, concerning a reform of language laws, and two on the second vote, on car taxation. The third vote, on child subsidies, was also a vote of confidence in the government – which survived by a margin of 100-97. Only two MPs out of the 200 MPs were absent.

The unprecedented outcome marks the first time that a citizens’ initiative has received lawmakers’ blessing to be written into the law books. It also allows Finland to finally catch up with its Nordic peers, all of which have already legalised gay marriage.

Sweet triumph for supporters

The result was a sweet triumph for the thousands of supporters of marriage equality who gathered around the Parliament this afternoon. Many of them waved rainbow-coloured flags and banners. Shouts of “I do!” – the battle cry of the movement – echoed through the streets. Opponents of the measure also turned out for the session, but found themselves vastly outnumbered.

Parliamentary Speaker Eero Heinäluoma tightened security ahead of the vote, calling for calm on what has been a polarising subject both inside and outside the chamber. However there were no reports of disruptive behaviour – with one Yle correspondent describing the scene as having a Carnival-like atmosphere.

The reform will force wide-ranging changes in other legislation, which will take well over a year to finalise. The law will therefore not take effect until 2016 at the earliest. Finland has allowed registered partnerships since 2002.

Capture

Share

Fancy Sleeping With Tom of Finland?

 

Finlayson has produced a range of Tom of Finland home products Photo via: Tumblr

Finlayson has produced a range of Tom of Finland home products
Photo via: Tumblr

Berndt Arell, director general of the National Museum of Sweden and co-author of the book Tom of Finland: Unforeseen, said: “I am confident that Touko Laaksonen would be proud of the respect that he as an artist has gained during recent years thanks to Tom of Finland Foundation and Finnish trendsetter companies such as Itella Posti Oy, the Finnish national post office, and now Finlayson.”

He also added: “[For Tom of Finland] becoming a world-known artist has required determination and courageous work in a world that was not that respectful and permissive at the time.”

SEE THE COMPLETE ARTICLE BY HENRI NEUENDORF

Capture

Share