The Legal Committee of the Finnish Parliament suggests the Civic Initiative aiming at introducing genre neutral marriage legislation should be rejected. The decision was reached in a vote 10-6. Opposed to the iniative were members representing the Basic Finns, the Centre Party, the Christian Democrats and all but one of the Conservatives represented in the Committee.
The decision to reject does not kill the Civic Initiative. The negative report of the Legal Committee will be reviewed in a parliamentary plenary vote. If marriage reform gets a majority, the Civic Initiative will be sent to the parliamentary Grand Committee. Further action will then be subject to a vote in the Grand Committee.
The Finnish Civic Initiative for a change in the marriage legislation was submitted to Parliament on December 13, 2013. Signed by over 167 000 citizens the Civic Iniative was launched in early 2013 following the failure of a parliamentary Members´ Bill.
The negative decision of the Legal Committee was given during the Helsinki Pride week and triggered a wave of criticism in the Finnish social media against the Conservative Party. The new chairman (and Prime Minister) Alexander Stubb is a vocal advocate of equality, but the party is deeply split on the issue. After the vote, Mr Stubb issued a statement underlining that MPs "must be allowed to vote according their conscience".
Statements from the value conservative camp in the wake of the decision included harsh tones reflecting the polarization of the Finnish society on the issue.