A petition to reverse Finland’s gender-neutral marriage law has gathered the required 50,000 signatures to see the issue debated in parliament.
The petition, created by the “Association for Real Marriage” on the citizens’ initiative website kansalaisaloite.fi, had garnered the necessary amount of support by 6pm on Sunday evening.
Under the terms of the citizens’ initiative scheme, the petition still had 2 and a half months remaining within which to collect the requisite number of signatures.
The document calls on parliament to reverse last year’s decision to introduce a law permitting same-sex couples to marry. The new marriage law is due to come into force in March 2017
In February President Sauli Niinistö passed the Equal Marriage Act, which made history by becoming the first law in Finland to begin life as an online petition under the citizens’ initiative scheme.
Although gender-neutral marriage has now passed into Finland’s statue books, it requires the passing of further bills by the end of this year before the law can take effect in 2017.
Recently the new Finns Party Justice Minister, Jari Lindström, caused controversy when he wrote on a blog that handling the same-sex marriage bills makes him feel “awkward”.
Lindström wrote that he respects the binding nature of the law that has been passed, but said of the additional legislation that “people are now hounding me to present it in government.”
The petition will now be passed to Finland’s Population Register Center to verify that the expressions of support come from genuine individuals.
Parliamentarians had previously debated and rejected a citizens’ initiative regarding the banning of fur farming and a proposal to scrap compulsory Swedish teaching in schools. A petition to end zero-hours work contracts will also pass before parliament.