LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Finland one step closer to marriage equality

ILGA-Europe welcomes today’s vote by Finnish members of parliament in favour of proposed marriage equality legislation. The proposal, which aims to define marriage in gender-neutral terms, was supported by 105 members of parliament during this afternoon’s (Friday 28 November) plenary session. 92 MP’s voted against.

This vote represents a significant milestone in the protracted journey towards complete marriage equality in Finland. Mobilised by the rejection of a similar piece of legislation in February 2013, Finnish campaigners organised a citizen’s initiative. In order to submit a bill for consideration by parliament, an initiative must collect a minimum of 50,000 voter signatures in six months – a target that was surpassed by this marriage equality proposal within the first 24 hours of its existence.

Commenting on today’s result, Paulo Corte-Real, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said: “When this initiative was presented to the Finnish parliament, it had garnered the support of over 166,000 citizens. ILGA-Europe warmly congratulates everyone involved with the citizen’s initiative, their allies and those parliamentarians who supported it.”

However, it is important to note that today is not the final stage in the campaign for marriage equality. The gender-neutral marriage bill will now proceed to the Finnish Parliament’s Grand Committee before returning to be reviewed by all members of parliament.

Joyce Hamilton, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, pointed out: “This great step signals Finland’s strong intent to join its Scandinavian neighbours in recognising the rights of all couples, regardless of sexual orientation and gender. We hope that the upcoming Grand Committee discussions and subsequent votes by MP’s are as positive and inspiring as the vote we have witnessed today.”