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President signs gender-neutral marriage law

President Sauli Niinistö on Friday signed the law passed late last year by Parliament that will recognize same-sex marriage in Finland. It is the first legislation to become law as the result of a citizens' initiative.

Sauli Niinistö
President Sauli Niinistö. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

President Niinistö signed and confirmed the new law Friday which will make marriage gender neutral in Finland when it comes into force on March 1, 2017.

The signing was an historic occasion also in respect to the fact that this will be the first piece of legislation brought to Parliament as a citizens' initiative and approved as the law of the land.

Now that the law has been confirmed by the President, the Justice Ministry will begin the job of revising other national legislation to bring it into line with the concept of gender-neutral marriage.

According to officials, various family social and health entitlements will have to be examined and revised, as will the law on the legal status of registered same-sex couples. Revisions are to be submitted to Parliament this coming autumn.

Parliament passed the final changes to marriage law to allow same-sex marriage in December. The legislation was based on a citizens' initiative petition signed by 167,000 voters.

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