Finland Changes Law To Legalize Marriage Equality

The new law replaces registered partnerships, which were enacted in 2002.

On Wednesday, Finland finalized the language of its marriage equality law, which takes effect in March 2017.

Prime Minister Sauli Niinistö signed the measure into law on February 20, 2015, after it passed in parliament 105 votes to 92, but this week the legislature approved changes to the legal code that allow same-sex couples in registered partnerships to covert to civil marriage.

Such partnerships were enacted in 2002, and granted same-sex couples all marital rights except for adoption. The new language will abolish them, leaving marriage as the only option.

Finland decriminalized homosexuality in 1971, but did not lift its ban on the "promotion" of homosexuality until 1999. Discrimination based on sexual orientation was criminalized in 1995 and on gender identity in 2005.

There has been opposition: last summer the Association for Real Marriage collected the 50,000 signatures necessary to force Parliament to resume debate on same-sex marriage but did not have the votes to overturn the law.

A survey by Taloustutkimus taken in March 2014 found that 65% of Finns supported same-sex marriage, while only 27% opposed.

h/t: Joe My God

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