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Legal committee votes against gay marriage

Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee has voted against a citizen’s initiative proposing gender-neutral marriage. The measure will now be considered by parliament in the autumn.

Sateenkaarilippu hulmuaa.
Image: Yle

After a lengthy campaign, the latest bid to legislate for same-sex marriage has foundered once again at the Finnish Parliament's Legal Affairs committee. The committee, which also rejected a previous bill on the issue, voted 10-6 to push the law back to the whole legislature. Three of the four National Coalition Party MPs on the committee voted against the bill.

Kaj Turunen (Finns Party), Arto Pirttilahti (Centre), Markku Mäntymaa (NCP), Anne Holmlund (NCP), Kari Tolvanen (NCP), James Hirvisaari (Change 2011), Ari Torniainen (Centre and Peter Östman (Christian Democrat) all voted against the legislative proposal.

Mika Niikko served as a substitute for committee member Arja Juvonen of the Finns Party, and opposed the motion. SDP MPs Suna Kymäläinen and Mikael Jungner both missed the vote. Eava-Maria Maijala (Centre) served as a substitute and opposed the motion.

Jungner later tweeted that he was late for the vote and apologised for his mistake. He said that his vote would not have changed the result, which would have been 9-8 against the bill if the SDP MPs had attended the committee session.

Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left), Stefan Wallin (Swedish People’s Party), Johanna Ojala-Niemelä (SDP), Kristiina Salonen (SDP), Oras Tynkkynen (Green) and Jaana Pelkonen (NCP) voted in favour of the measure.

The bill will now be considered by a full sitting of parliament in the autumn. Finland is the only Nordic country not to have introduced a gender-neutral marriage law.

After the previous attempt failed, campaigners launched a Citizens' Initiative on the matter that gathered more than 166,000 signatures.

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