The Civic Initiative about equality in marriage attracts massive support

  • Teema
  • In English
  • jnsto
Civil partnerships have been possible in Finland since 2002, but planned changes in marriage legislation have hit a conservative-minded stonewall.

More than hundred thousand citizens had signed the Civic Initiative about a new Marriage Law within the first day of availability. The legal requirement of 50 000 backers was reached in the afternoon of March 19th, 2013.

The Civic Intiative was arranged following the demise of a Member´s Bill signed by 76 MPs. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Legal Affairs refused to allow the passage of the Member´s into the parliamentary process. Under a new system of Civic Iniatives a group of citizens - totalling more than 50 000 people - can put forward a Draft Bill to Parliament in Finland. Civic Initatives can be dismissed by a parliamentary majority though.

Equality in marriage has been opposed strongly by parties of the political centre and right. The position of the Conservative Party has been unclear. The party did pass a resolution in favour of gay marriage in its 2010 convention, but a majority of its MPs appear to be against a reform. When the current coalition government was formed in 2011, prime minister elect Jyrki Katainen (conservatives) agreed that his cabinet would not submit a revised Marriage Act to Parliament. The policy line had been a key condition set by the small Christian Democrats Party on its participation in the government coalition.

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The massive support received by the Civic Initiative will keep the issue in the headlines.

The internet site for civic intiatives was unavailable at times during the first day, due to high demand.

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