(Blogmensgo, gay blog of March 10, 2017) On March 1st, 2017, the first gay marriages were celebrated in Finland after the law of December 12, 2014 had come into effect. The Finnish parliament (Eduskunta) had passed the law on February 16, 2016. On February 17, 2017, the deputies had also voted against a bill intended to prevent the law on gay marriage. The Lutheran Church of Finland openly fights against same-sex marriage although it is loosing members as a result.
Same-sex marriage will now replace the same-sex registered partnerships introduced in 2002. I will offer new possibilities for same-sex partners, such as a joint last name for both partners. However, previously registered partnerships will not be converted to marriages automatically but on explicit demand.
Another new option for married gay and lesbian partners is the possibility to adopt children.
More than 40 gay and lesbian couples were planning to marry shortly after the new law would come into effect in the first week of March, most of them in Helsinki, the capital.
Despite the fact that the Lutheran Church of Finland strongly and officially opposes same-sex marriage, a number of Lutheran pastors who want to marry same-sex couples and are even fighting for it, have founded the group Sateenkaaripapit (or “Rainbow Pastors”). They have come up with a wedding liturgy in now less than seven languages: Finnish and Estonian (two very similar languages), Swedish, English, German, French and the Finnish sign language.
However, the Rainbow Pastors require at least one of the two partners to be of Lutheran and the other one to be of Christian faith.
As a side note: In view of this law, a new emoticon showing Tom of Finland was added to the 54 official Finnish emoticons on February 6, 2017. The very well-known Finnish artist, whose real name was Touko Laaksonen (1920–1991), was known for his very masculine and iconic portraits of men and as a gay rights activist.