Post submitted by Noah, Montague HRC Global Engagement Intern
On Thursday, Finland’s Parliament began debating a bill to consider marriage equality for all citizens, including same-sex couples. The second introduction of marriage equality legislation in the Finnish Parliament brings renewed hope for same-sex couples in Finland.
While previous legislation for marriage equality in Finland just barely proved unsuccessful in the Finnish Parliament, the new proposal for marriage equality comes as a direct result of citizen voice. In the wake of the defeat of the last proposal for marriage equality, Finns set out to collect signatures for a petition that would force their parliament to reconsider marriage equality under what is known in Finland as a “citizens’ initiative.”
In order for a citizens’ initiative to be considered in Finland, it must receive at least 50,000 signatures within six months. The petition for marriage equality received almost 100,000 names in roughly 24 hours. In total, the initiative was sent to the Finnish Parliament with 166,000 signatories.
Currently, Finland is the only Nordic country without laws permitting same-sex marriage. Finnish law currently only allows registered partnerships with limited rights, and denies same sex couples the ability to adopt the child of their partner.
If passed, the marriage equality legislation in Finland would make matrimony gender neutral, and would be in line with the opinion of most Finns, a majority of whom, 58%, support marriage equality, compared to the 34%, who oppose it. Additionally the passage of the legislation would put Finland in line with its Nordic neighbors, and make it the nineth nation in the European Union to have marriage equality along with Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and England and Wales in the United Kingdom.