Finland parliament approves bill to legalise gay marriage

Finland set to become 12th European nation to give same-sex unions the same status as heterosexual marriages

The Finnish parliament has narrowly approved a citizen’s initiative to legalise same-sex marriage.

Gay couples in Finland have been able to enter into registered partnerships since 2002, but the country is the only one in the Nordic region not to allow same-sex marriage. Finland is now set to become the 12th European state to do so.

In the vote, 105 members of parliament supported the legal amendment while 92 opposed it.

The measure paves the way for an end to the distinction in Finland between same-sex unions and heterosexual marriages and to giving such couples equal rights to adopt children and share a surname.

“Finland should strive to become a society where discrimination does not exist, human rights are respected and two adults can marry regardless of their sexual orientation,” the centre-right prime minister, Alexander Stubb, said in an open letter before the vote.

Most opponents argued that all children should have the right to a father and mother. “This is a question of the future of our children and the whole society, and such changes should not be made without thorough evaluation of their impact,” Mika Niikko of the nationalist Finns party said before the vote.

• This article was amended on 3 December 2014. It previously said Finland had legalised gay marriage, but the final bill has yet to be made law.

by Reuters in Helsinki
Source – The Guardian