Finland finalizes equal marriage laws… but couples still face a long wait
Finland has finally finished making tweaks to its same-sex marriage legislation – but couples still have another year to wait before marrying.
Way back in November 2014, the Finnish Parliament passed a citizens’ initiative on same-sex marriage by a tight vote of 105-92.
The country’s President Sauli Niinistö signed the initiative into law back in February 2015, beginning the process of making legal changes required for weddings to begin.
This week – over a year later – the country’s legislation was finalised, as the Finnish Parliament approved an amendment that will allow same-sex couples in registered partnerships to ‘convert’ to a marriage.
MPs passed the measure, which is hoped to be the last puzzle piece required, by 106 votes to 42.
However, couples will still be waiting quite a while before marrying – as weddings are not set to begin until March 2017.
This delay means a staggering two-and-a-half years will have passed between the equal marriage initiative passing through Parliament, and the first weddings actually taking place.
The delay, which came about due to the Citizen’s Initiative process and complexity in Finnish law, stands in comparison to the relative efficiency elsewhere.
In the Republic of Ireland, weddings began just 178 days after the country’s landmark referendum including a legal challenge – while most US states managed to begin issuing marriage certificates within a day of the Supreme Court ruling.
It took eight months for weddings to begin in England and Wales, after same-sex marriage legislation gained royal assent.