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20 February 2017 12:43 (South Africa)
Wired World

Finnish parliament re-adopts gay marriage law

  • AFP
    AFP
  • Wired World

Finland's parliament voted Friday for a second time in favour of same-sex marriage, just two weeks before a 2014 law enshrining it is due to take effect.

The do-over was a last-minute attempt by opponents to prevent the legalisation of gay marriage in the country, but the legislature upheld the law by 120 votes to 48.

The law will now go into effect as planned on March 1.

The previous parliament passed a law on "gender-neutral marriage" in late 2014, set for early March this year.

But conservative opponents -- who want a law recognising marriage as solely being between a man and a woman -- undertook a citizens' initiative, gathering more than the 50,000 signatures required for parliament to debate an issue.

Parliament's legal affairs committee rejected the counter-motion on Tuesday, but conservative members from the Christian Democrats and the populist Finns Party -- one of the three members of the government coalition -- insisted on having the plenary vote.

"My conscience requires me to warn you against approving a law that will take away our nation's blessing," Finns Party MP Mika Niikko said during parliament's debate on Thursday, implying gay marriage was a sin.

Others accused the initiative's proponents of grandstanding for voters ahead of municipal elections in April and of wasting parliament's time on a futile vote.

"A worthless play is a good description of the parliament's behaviour towards rainbow families. Once more they are being picked on ... even when people have booked their wedding venues for the happiest day of their lives within less than two weeks," MP Emma Kari of the Green League replied.

Finland has recognised same-sex partnerships since 2002, but has until now remained the only Nordic country where gay marriage is not legal. DM

  • AFP
    AFP
  • Wired World

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