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Friday's paper review: Gender-neutral marriage debate, disenfranchised youth initiative, and Finland's gold medallists

Emotions ran high during the gender-neutral marriage debate in Parliament on Thursday, a story that dominated the Finnish newspapers on Friday. Other highlights included a pilot initiative in Mikkeli to help disenfranchised youth, and Finland's gold medal-winning cross-country skiers.

In domestic news, the main topic dominating the Friday papers is the gender-neutral marriage debate. Image: YLE

In domestic news, several of the major dailies wrote about the gender-neutral marriage bill, which was heatedly discussed until 9 pm in Parliament on Thursday. Finland is the only Nordic country which has not yet legalised gender-neutral marriage.

Tampere-based Aamulehti led with a headline citing the most common reason for opposition to gender-neutral marriage: the idea that it's in the interest of children to have a mother and a father. Opposition to the same-sex marriage initiative came mainly from the Christian Democrats and the Finns Party. 

Aamulehti quotes MP Stefan Wallin (Swedish Peoples Party) who said during the session that, "It's time for Finland to come out of the closet."

As did Aamulehti and other newspapers, main Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat ran a photo of Eila Tiainen (Left Alliance) being comforted by Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto (Greens) after Tiainen broke down crying during the parliamentary session when referring to her younger brother, whom she said was unable to continue living because he felt unaccepted by society.

Some 167,000 Finns signed the citizens’ initiative Tahdon 2013 that forced the issue onto the agenda —but more than 42,000 have signed a petition opposing any legislative changes. The law ensures that any proposal that secures 50,000 signatures must be considered by MPs. The Tahdon 2013 campaign launched its petition, and over six months it was signed by 166,000 people.

Other stories in the headlines include a Mikkeli-based initiative Tajua Mut! (Understand Me!) that is looking to improve how information is shared by authorities in order to help disenfranchised young people by providing them with a better support network.

Lapin Kansa of Lapland also covered Thursday's parliamentary debate, but devoted their cover to an image of gold medallists Iivo Niskanen and Sami Jauhojärvi on the podium at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The Finnish cross-country skiers who are from Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland, took the top spot in the men's team sprint.

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Thursday's papers: What will Russia do next? Child safety checks ignored, and the Finnish economy's "lost year"

The poignant scenes of the return to Holland of the bodies of the victims of flight MH-17 dominate Finland's press this morning. Alongside the reports on the latest diplomatic moves to try and secure Russian co-operation over the Ukraine crisis, some papers take a moment to revisit Finland's recent run-ins with its eastern neighbour, and explore the worst-case scenario should Russia's economy crash. Elsewhere, papers reveal a widespread lack of background checks on those working with children, and an overview of Finland's economic outlook makes bleak reading.

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