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Yle straw poll: Gay marriage vote too close to call

Nearly half of MPs say they support marriage equality, while one-third signaled that they intend to vote against the measure when it comes before them next week. According to an informal poll conducted by Yle Thursday, the scales could tip either way next Friday.

MPs will have to consider whether to grant same-sex couples the same rights as traditional spouses. Image: Yle

Yle put the cat among the pigeons and asked 150 out of 200 MPs outright how they intend to vote when a bill on gender neutral marriage is tabled next Friday.

Nearly half of those who responded said they support marriage equality laws; however one-third of them said they intend to vote down the bill.

MPs are split between conservative and liberal views on the matter. National Coalition Party MPs come down on both sides of the divide, while members of the Social Democratic Party appear to lean in a liberal direction. The Finns Party meanwhile has made its opposition clear from day one, and the Centre Party has been mostly critical of gay marriage.

Stark differences among smaller parties

Among the smaller parties the differences are starker, with the Left Alliance, the Greens and the Swedish Peoples' Party showing solid support for the right of same-sex couples to wed. Led by Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen, the Christian Democrats staunchly oppose the measure.

The Yle straw poll wasn’t able to read the smoke signals to determine a clear outcome ahead of next week’s vote. But the talk in the corridors of the legislature Thursday could offer the smallest glimmer of hope to the 170,000 citizens who signed a citizen’s initiative in support of gender neutral marriage.

Earlier on Thursday Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee struck down the measure by a narrow vote of 9 - 8, charactierising the contentious nature of the bill. Next Friday's vote will allow MPs to abandon party lines and vote according to their consciences without fear of a backlash.

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