The programme declaration of the new Finnish coalition government makes no mention of genre neutral marriage. As the programme was being negotiated the prime minister-to-be, conservative chairman Mr Jyrki Katainen agreed to the demand of the small Christian Democrat Party that the marriage reform should be left out. With the government now unable to act on the issue, there are plans to initiate the reform as a members' bill.
The Christian Democrats are the smallest party in parliament and have one cabinet position. Opposition against equality in marriage legistation has been of late the hallmark of their political agenda. Two incumbent Christian Democratic MPs chose not to run for re-election as they were not at ease with the key role the party chairman Mrs Päivi Räsänen has given to the campaign against gay marriage in the public image of the party.
The new coalition government comprises a wide political spectrum. The two leading parties are the Conservatives and the Social democrats. The government also includes the Greens, the Left League, the Swedish party and the Christian Democrats.
Finnish media has reported that the decision to accept the Christian Democrat stand was taken by Mr Katainen personally. The change of priorities came only a year after the Conservative Convention had announced its support for genre neutral marriage legislation.
A group of MPs is now drafting a bill. To be eligible for parliamentary passage the bill must attract at least 100 signatures. It remains uncertain though whether that number will be reached.
In Finland, the conservatives do not use the name Christian Democrat, though in many ways ideologically close to the German CDU. Thus the name was available for use by a small party that features extremist Christian values.