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Over 800 couples marry in first month of legal same-sex unions

Since Finland granted gender-neutral marriage equal legal status in March, some 800 couples have gotten married. Some 770 of those were already civil partnerships, while 87 were entirely new unions.

Finland made gay marriage legal from 1 March. Image: AOP

Finland now has more than 800 married gay couples, one month after the law was changed to allow same-sex unions.

New figures from the Population Register Centre of Finland show 770 same-sex couples have changed their relationship status to married since March 1. Since Finland granted gay marriages equal legal footing, couples were able to change their status from registered to married by simply submitting a form to their local register office.

A total of 87 new same-sex couples tied the knot in the same time period, making the grand total of gay marriages 857 in the first month after the legal change.

For comparison's sake, Statistics Finland reports that 1,123 heterosexual couples were married in March 2015, and according to the 2011 population census, 15 percent of Finns over the age of 20 were cohabiting.

The Population Register Centre says areas with the most same-sex marriages were the capital city region of Uusimaa and central Häme, where 56 percent of same-sex couples changed their relationship status. Areas with the least incidences (16 percent) of couples registering or being wed are Eastern and South-eastern Finland and Lapland.

The Centre says that it has received several inquiries about same-sex marriage since the law took effect, but the change has not been visible as a noted increase in wedding bookings.

According to Statistics Finland figures from last spring, the number of registered same-sex partnerships has remained relatively stable in recent years, with an average of slightly over 300 couple registering annually. Slightly over 100 registered same-sex partnerships have ended in divorce annually from 2013 to 2016.