FINLAND: Committee Rejects Marriage Bill, Pushes Issue To Full Parliament

The Finnish Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee today rejected a marriage equality bill, pushing the item to consideration by the full national legislature later this year.

After a lengthy campaign, the latest bid to legislate for same-sex marriage has foundered once again at the Finnish Parliaments’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. The bill will now be considered by a full sitting of parliament in the autumn. Finland is the only Nordic country not to have introduced a gender-neutral marriage law. After the previous attempt failed, campaigners launched a Citizens’ Initiative on the matter that gathered more than 166,000 signatures.

The chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee says the bill had technical flaws.

”It just wasn’t ready,” Holmlund said. “All the experts we asked said that the specific legislation proposed in the initiative is technically non-viable.” The voting margin was bigger due to two Social Democrats being absent from the committee vote. Additionally, Arja Juvonen of the Finns Party — who would have voted yes — was represented by Mika Niikko, who voted ‘no’. The bill may well go through in the autumn or based on the next government negotiations,” said Green League MP Oras Tynkkynen, who voted for the initiative. “The Western world is gradually coming to accept a gender-neutral legislative stance on marriage, and it feels unlikely that Finland would be the last to come around.”