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Gender-neutral marriage bill reaches parliament

The Finnish parliament will debate on Thursday whether to become the final Nordic country to pass a law on gender-neutral marriage. Some 166,000 Finns signed the citizens’ initiative that forced the issue onto the agenda—but more than 42,000 have signed a petition opposing any legislative changes.

Miespari laittaa toisilleen sormuksia sormeen.
Image: Yle

Parliament begins debate on Thursday on a proposal to allow same-sex marriage. The matter has been considered before, when 76 MPs signed a previous bill. That attempt fell at the committee stage thanks to opposition from Finns Party, Christian Democrat, Centre and National Coalition MPS.

That setback sent campaigners back to the drawing board, and they returned with a campaign to force the issue via Finland’s law on citizens’ initiatives.

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.

The proposal was presented to speaker of parliament Eero Heinäluoma in December. After the initial debate on Thursday it will pass once again to the Legal Affairs Committee.

Tahdon 2013’s polling on the issue shows support for gay marriage running at 58 percent, with 34 percent of those polled opposed to the idea. Some 42,000 people have signed a petition opposing legal changes.

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  • Toiset Soundit

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    Hopefully Parliament will vote in favour of the bill. After all, democracy is not only about what the "mob" or - to put it more respectfully - the majority thinks, finds or believes. Democracy is also about a set of values, such as (individual) freedoms, basic rights such as housing, decent jobs and access to a fair judicial process.

    • Great

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      And marriage is a social and religious contract that has evolved over time between a man and a woman. Legal rights for couples regardless of sex yes, but marriage, no.

    • Finnish law

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      "Funny" that in law school they teach us that majority rule is a main characteristic of democracy...but hey!what those professors know right?They are just part of the "mob"...

    • aleksis

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      Those same professors would also tell you that in true democracy you can never put the rights of a minority up for the majority to decide. In democracy there must be equal protection under the law to every single citizen. Even for the gays and the "trannies" either you like or not. I am a finnish gay citizen that pays big ammounts of money in taxes just to this government just as my partner does. And still me and my partner are treated less then my straight fellow family members and friends. Does that seem fair to you? Or democratic? I don't think so. If it stays that way I want my tax money back. Now. And maybe start paying the gay taxes. Smaller taxes for finnish gay people as we are second class citizens in this country. This really bothers me!

  • JohnN

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    "166,000 Finns signed the petition in favour" vs "42,000 signed a petition against".

    • Finland and tradition

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      In my view the pro petition was much more advertised I just found out about the against petition from yle news I would have signed out "right off the bat"...I and most of my fellow church members...

    • stan james

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      it looks like Finland will finally throw off perhaps the last remaining yoke of soviet dominaton and allow gays to marry. viirtually all the nordic countries allow it, eg Iceland 49 to zero in parlaiment 2010, 85 to 22 in Denmark 2012, IN 2009 here from wiki is the results - about 9 to 1 for marriage equality for gays

      just a couple weeks ago, scotland voted for equal marriage by 105 to 18, about 6 to 1

      Time for Finland which many consider a Nordic country despite the language differences to join most of Europe re equality

    • geoignorance

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      "Finland which many consider a Nordic country"...really??What the others consider Finland then? An African country,Asian country?Some people in these forums are in serious need of geographic/cultural classes...

    • history of Finland

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      Do you know anything about Finnish history?If not please don't comment in what you don't know...conservative movement has nothing to do with the Soviet Union which by the way Finland was never a part of(right after Lenin took power Finland became independent).Its very hurtful for the memory of our war veterans to hear this types of missconception.Many gave their last breath fighting off the red army to keep Finland a free country.Just compare Finland with Estonia or will see the differences

  • Lovethefins

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    You go Finland! You can do it this time! Marriage for everyone!

    • stanJames

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      BTW no one is going to force priests to marry anyone of whom they object- thats relgiious freedom and this is about marriage under civil law.

      both of my children are now MARRIED under law, there was no relgiious ceremony etc.

  • xizzhu

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    It's always interesting to see when YLE allows comments. No bias, hum?

    • Yle News

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      There's no bias here, just a delay in the moderation process. Apologies for the delay.

  • next ones to follow

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    Yes, the parliament "must" be "democratic", so after they approve gay marriage they must also approve the rights for Polygamous marriage,and the rights of those advocating marriage with children and with animals...if we are going to stray away from the state's religion and traditions then every group must have same rights...

    • stanJames

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      sorry but you are totally off base. children and animals cannot give consent to marry etc.

      Shame on you for effectively calling gay people animals Shame shame shame the maniac who ran Germany from 1933 to 1945 thought the same thing and sent 45ooo gay people to the slaughterhouse death camps along with 5 million Jews etc

    • next one to follow

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      Don't try to compare me with a Nazi for supporting that marriage is meant for a man and woman only.I don't hate gays,they can sleep with whomever they want for I don't care...I'm just defending the marriage institution as dictated by god's law, that's all.Gays are also children of the same god whom Unfortunetly have their values mixed up...

    • next one to follow

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      No one was calling gay people animals.It was just a demonstration that in this world there are groups which advocate all types of marriage.Women can consent to be in polygamous relationships in the name of certain religions...what do you say about that then? If I would like to marry 3 ladies willing to marry me?Should Finland give me and my wives the same rights and those of a couple?

  • Tradition and family

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    I've never dreamed as a foreign born that one day I would support perussuomalaiset, but on this they get my vote.Nice to still have parties which defend newborn life protection and traditional families.

  • Is this democracy?

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    Next step will be to "force church priests" to marry those people...Finland is not moving towards democracy but on the opposite direction

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