A Finnish MP who voted against equal marriage has registered his partnership with another man.

Legal recognition for same-sex couples has been available in the form of registered partnerships since 2002 in the country – while same-sex marriage laws are set to come into force in 2017, after passage earlier this year.

Markku Rossi, an MP for the Finnish Centre party, this week registered his partnership with publisher Matti Kaarlejärvi in a private ceremony at their home.

Some are surprised at the news, given Mr Rossi voted against same-sex marriage in Parliament last year.

The ceremony comes just a week after a TV commentator referred to Kaarlejärvi as the MP’s “spouse” – the first time the MP’s private life has been under the microscope.

He explained: “We decided that we now had to make a decision that is permanent.

“Definitely the Palace Ball of a week ago had an impact on this. It started a storm when someone said that in front of half of Finland.”

Of the positive reaction, he added: “Indeed, I must really say that I’m happily surprised by this, and quite relieved, too.

However, the MP he insists he has not changed his mind about voting against gay equality.

He said he “would still vote the same way” as he believes marriage is a term associated with religion, and did not want to cause problems for the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

He clarified: “I have always approved of people of the same gender having registered partnerships.”