|Finnish parliament in favour of gay marriage|
by Redaktie in History & Politics , 15 January 2015
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The Finnish parliament has approved a bill that opens up marriage to same-sex couples. It is a great victory of the Finnish gay movement, as they have enforced the vote by organizing a Citizens' Initiative. It is expected that the first Finnish same-sex couples can get married in 2016.
The Finnish parliament in the capital Helsinki voted in favour of a gender-neutral marriage with 105 votes in favour, and 92 votes against. Same-sex couples will also be allowed to adopt. It is the first time in Finnish parliamentary history that a Citizens' Initiative was passed.
This citizens' initiative, which was partly organised by the Finnish gay movement, was necessary because the legal committee of the Finnish parliament voted against the introduction of a bill to open up marriage to same-sex couples last year, thus blocking a vote in parliament. The Finnish Constitution, however, makes it possible to enforce such a vote through a Citizens' Initiative. In spring, more than 150,000 signatures were collected to achieve this.
Outside parliament, thousands of supporters and opponents of opening up marriage to same-sex couples assembled. The vast majority consisted of supporters who began to celebrate after the announcement. They waved rainbow flags and shouted 'I DO,' the battle cry of the Initiative.
The adaptation of the bill does not mean that Finish same-sex couples can get married soon, as quite a lot of adjustments of existing laws and regulations need to be made. It is expected that in 2016, the first couples will be able to get married.
Finland was the only Scandinavian country that had not opened up marriage to same-sex couples. It is now the 12th European country, and the 19th country worldwide where same-sex couples can get married.
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