Gay Marriage Is Now Legal In Finland – But There’s A Catch

As of today, it is legal for same-sex couples to marry in Finland. This makes the country the last one of the Nordics to instate gay marriage in law.

Beyond granting same-sex couples the right to marriage and registered partnership, the law also enables adoption by gay couples.

“We took the juridical step 2002, when we instated registered partnership. But, that was a second tier kind of marriage. It is therefore important that homosexuals are treated equal to heterosexuals and that the constitution of marriage is available to all,” sociologist Kari Mustola says.

However, the law only concerns civil marriages, which means gay couples who want to marry in a church are kept waiting.

The issue has divided the Finnish Lutheran church.

No formal verdict has been reached, but the church’s official line is that old rules still apply and that marriage should be seen as a privilege for couples made up of a man and a woman.

“Seeing the development from the individual’s perspective, waiting 10 years is a long time. But within a larger time frame it has been moving forward relatively fast” Mustola continues.

Many priests across the country are making their views on the subject clear by openly defying the bishops’ stance, by joining together, all couples equally, in marriage. For instance, through the site Sateenkaaripapit (tr. The Rainbow Priests), couples can find priests willing to facilitate church weddings.

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