The Obama speech could affect Finland as well - Equality Organization Chair

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The chairman of the Finnish Sexual Equality Organization (Seta) Juha-Pekka Hippi believes the Inaugural address by President Obama could have an impact on the situation in Finland as well. - If the greater part of countries would have an equality-based marriage legislation, those in the minority would have to explain why their legal framework has not been changed, he said (January 22) in an interview with the Uusi Suomi internet news service.

In Finland, development towards making the same-sex marriage possible was halted in 2011. In the talks preceding the formation of the current coalition government the prime-minister-elect, Conservative chairman Jyrki Katainen accepted the demand of a small Christian party to the effect that no government Bill on the marriage reform be prepared or submitted.

Me Hippi pointed out that among the coalition parties only the Christian Democrats had totally dismissed the idea. -Without the impact of the Christian Democrats, it is possible that a government Bill could have been submitted, Hippi said.

The efforts continued in the form of a Members Bill that got the backing of some 70 MPs (out of 200). The processing of the Members Bill has been slow, however, and it may falter. A national collection of names for a Civic Initiative is to begin in Finland in March 2013.

Mr Hippi predicted that equality based marriage legislation could be introduced in Finland "within five to fifteen years".

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Finland is currently the only country in the Nordic area that does not allow same sex marriage.

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