50,000 Finns sign gay marriage opposition petition

50,000 Finns sign gay marriage opposition petition

A petition opposing gender-neutral marriage in Finland has reached the 50,000 signatures needed to see the matter debated in parliament.

The Association for Real Marriage petition to reverse the country’s gender-neutral marriage law was displayed on the citizens’ initiative website kansalaisaloite.fi, and had gathered the required number of signature by Sunday evening – two and a half months earlier than the deadline set by the citizens’ initiative scheme.

The documents want to see parliament reverse its decision in 2014 that allows same-sex couples to wed. The law is scheduled to come into effect in March 2017.

President Sauli Niinisto passed the Equal Marriage Act in February, making it the first law in the Nordic country to be a result of an online petition from the citizens’ initiative scheme. Despite the fact the law has already been passed, though, further bills must be approved before the end of 2015 before the law can officially come into force.

But not everyone is happy with the new law, and Finns Party Justice Minister Jari Lindstrom sparked controversy recently when he admitted same-sex marriage made him feel “awkward”. He said that although he respected how the law was passed, handling the bill’s additional legislation and presenting it in government was uncomfortable.

The next stage for the petition is for it to be handed on to the country’s Popular Register Center so that the expressions of support can be verified as being from genuine people.