Last week, the Legal Affairs Committee of the Finnish parliament narrowly rejected a marriage equality bill proposed by National Coalition Party minister Alexander Stubb. The 9-8 vote against the measure means it will not be considered by the full legislature.
The bill would have made regulations relating to marriage equal for all, irrespective of the gender of the partners. In Finland, gay and lesbian couples can currently register their partnerships, but do not automatically take each others’ surnames, or adopt children, reports YLE.
The bill had proven contentious between different Finnish political parties, as Greens Minister, Ville Niinistö, and Social Democratic MP Mikael Jungner, accused the Legal Affairs Committee chair, Anne Holmlund of delaying considering it.
Finland is the only Nordic country that does not allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Norway and Sweden passed equal marriage laws in 2009, Iceland in 2010, and Denmark in 2012.
When my husband Michael and I visited Finland in 2009 we learned a popular Finnish phrase, “On lottovoitto syntyä Suomeen,” which roughly translates to “Being born in Finland is like winning the lottery.” However, last week’s vote makes it clear that that saying should be followed with the caveat “…jos olet homo, lesbo, biseksuaali tai transsukupuolinen” — unless you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
What a tragic failure for a country that’s otherwise so progressive.