Parliamentary Committee blocked the Same Sex Marriage Initiative

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Finland is likely to remain the only Nordic country not to allow gender-neutral marriage for the time being. A Member´s Bill signed by 76 MPs (out of 200) was dismissed by the standing Legal Committee in Parliament on February 27, 2013. A clearance by the committee would have allowed passage to a parliamentary process, but the Bill was voted down 9-8.

The option of enacting equality in the Finnish marriage legislation came up in May 2011 following the decision in the talks about the current government to abstain from presenting a Government Bill. In the talks the Prime Minister designate Jyrki Katainen (cons) had pledged that the views of the small Christian Democratic Party would be respected. The Conservatives had passed a resolution in favour of same sex marriage in their convention a year earlier, but such resolutions are not binding in the party.

The Member´s Bill had been signed by the chairmen of four government parties (Social Democratcs, the Greens, the Swedish Party and the Left Alliance) while the Conservative chairman Jyrki Katainen did not. It was obvious from the start that the chairman of the Christian Democrats would not sign it.

There are plans now in Finland to collect signatures for a Civic Initiative. It would take at least 50 000 signatures by Finnish citizens to create civic Bill eligible for a parliamentary process. The collection of signatures was to begin in March 2013.

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Norway and Sweden approved gender-neutral marriage in 2009, followed in 2010 by Iceland and last year by Denmark. Over several decades Finland and the rest of the Nordic area have shown remarkable cohesion in key societal legislation. Marriage legislation appears now to mean a breakaway of Finland from a general Nordic trend.

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