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Gay marriage initiative proceeds to Parliament with 162,000 backers

The campaign has collected the largest number of backers of any citizens' initiative to date.

Miespari laittaa toisilleen sormuksia sormeen.
MPs will have to consider whether to allow same-sex weddings. Image: Yle

A petition calling for the right to same-sex marriage in Finland has collected more than 162,000 signatures. The time allotted to gather names backing the civic initiative ends on Thursday. Organisers had hoped to attract a quarter-million names.

Parliament must consider any such petition that garners at least 50,000 certified adult signatures in this nation of 5.4 million. The “Tahdon2013” (“I Do”) campaign surpassed that number on its first day last March.

On Thursday, organisers of the campaign will release the results of a public opinion poll on the topic of gay marriage.

In February, the parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee voted narrowly not to proceed with consideration of a marriage equality bill. Finland is the only Nordic country not to permit same-sex marriage, although it does allow registered partnerships.

The only citizens' initiative so far to be debated in Parliament was one proposing a ban on fur farming, which more than 70,000 signatures. It was rejected by the legislature last spring.

A citizens' initiative calling for more reasonable application of copyright law passed the 50,000 signature mark in July. Another one calling for a referendum on EU membership failed to collect enough names within the stipulated time frame.

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