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Finland: Multiparty initiative to change marriage legislation to allow same-sex marriages
29 Sep 2011
A working group covering a broad spectrum of political ideologies is starting to collect signatures of Members of Parliament behind a legislative proposal to change Finnish marriage legislation. The proposal would allow couples of the same gender to marry.
The initiative was made public in Parliament on Wednesday.
The first to sign the initiative were Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb (Nat. Coalition Party) and the chairs of four government parties, Jutta Urpilainen (SDP), Paavo Arhinmäki (Left Alliance), Ville Niinistö (Green) and Stefan Wallin (Swedish People's Party).
The head of the working group, Lasse Männistö (Nat. Coalition Party) says that the aim is to get more than 100 names behind the initiative, preferably before the end of the autumn.
However, even if a majority of MPs in Finland's Parliament sign the initiative, it does not necessarily mean that it would move forward or be passed into law.
According to one member of the working group, MP Silvia Modig (Left), the entire parliamentary group of the Left Alliance, as well as the two members who recently quit the group, have promised to sign the initiative. The situation is the same with the Greens and the Swedish People's Party.
Susanna Huovinen (SDP) said that a majority of Social Democratic MPs support the initiative, while in the National Coalition Party the situation is "fifty-fifty".
The proposed change in the marriage law would couples of the same gender to have the same adoption rights as heterosexual couples, and the partners could also take the same surname.
The initiative does not propose changes to the marriage formalities of religious communities.
Gender-neutral marriage was left out of the government's policy programme at the insistence of the Christian Democrats.
(via Helsingin Sanomat)