Finland’s Parliament took the historic step to legalise same-sex marriage, by narrowly approving a citizen’s initiative.
Since 2002, gay and lesbian couples in Finland have been able to enter into civil partnerships. But until today, it was the only country in the Nordic region to not allow same-sex marriage. It is now the 13th EU state to allow same-sex marriages.
Some 105 members of parliament supported the legal amendment while 92 opposed it.
The new measure will end the distinction in Finland between same-sex unions and heterosexual marriages.
There will soon be committee meetings to start the process of introducing legislation to change the law.
Equal rights that gay and lesbian married couples can now enjoy include will be able to adopt children and share a surname.
“Finland should strive to become a society where discrimination does not exist, human rights are respected and two adults can marry regardless of their sexual orientation,” centre-right Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said in an open letter before the vote.
Most opponents argued that all children should have the right to a father and mother. “This is a question of the future of our children and the whole society, and such changes should not be made without thorough evaluation of their impact,” Mika Niikko of the nationalist Finns party said before the vote.
In practice, it is expected that the first same-sex weddings will take place in March 2017, Pink News reported.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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