John M. Becker

Finnish Lawmakers Again Reject Equal Marriage Bill

Filed By John M. Becker | June 27, 2014 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Finland, gay marriage, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, same-sex marriage

finland1.pngLawmakers in Finland -- the only Nordic country where same-sex couples don't have the freedom to marry -- again rejected a marriage equality bill this week, Yleisradio reports:

After a lengthy campaign, the latest bid to legislate for same-sex marriage has foundered once again at the Finnish Parliament's Legal Affairs committee. The committee, which also rejected a previous bill on the issue, voted 10-6 to push the law back to the whole legislature. Three of the four National Coalition Party MPs on the committee voted against the bill.

Kaj Turunen (Finns Party), Arto Pirttilahti (Centre), Markku Mäntymaa (NCP), Anne Holmlund (NCP), Kari Tolvanen (NCP), James Hirvisaari (Change 2011), Ari Torniainen (Centre and Peter Östman (Christian Democrat) all voted against the legislative proposal.

The bill will still be considered by the full parliament this fall.

Marriage equality has had a surprisingly hard road in Finland. Lawmakers killed a marriage equality bill in committee in March 2013. After that disappointing vote, LGBT advocates mounted a citizen's initiative seeking to compel parliament to reconsider the issue; they gathered the required 50,000 signatures in just one day.

A total of 166,000 adult Finns signed the petition, and a strong majority of the Finnish public, 58%, supports marriage equality. During a floor debate on same-sex marriage earlier this year, MP Eila Tiainen broke down as she spoke about her gay brother, who committed suicide many years ago because he didn't feel accepted for who he was.

Here's hoping that when it takes up marriage equality later this year, the Finnish parliament finally gets on the right side of history and sends a message to LGBT Finns that they are, in fact, full and equal members of society.

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