"a question of human dignity", said the archbishop
December 1, 2014 5:56 AM   Subscribe

On Friday Finland's parliament narrowly approved a law for marriage equality. The Foreign Policy blog takes a look at why it took so long to do so compared to its neighbours.
posted by MartinWisse (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Homosexuality in Finland has been legalized since 1971, though it was only formally declassified as an "illness" in 1981, and gay couples have been able to enter into registered partnerships in the Nordic nation since 2002. Registered partnerships gave same-sex couples most marriage rights, but banned couples from adopting and taking the last name of their spouse.

What an odd reservation it is to refuse couples the right to share the name of their partner. But I'm somehow not surprised it's a nationalist party that is causing much of the conflict. The nationalist movement in the northern European countries have taken up a number of causes that seem to have been part of a global conservative agenda, even when they don't seem to make sense in their specific cultural context.
posted by winna at 6:01 AM on December 1, 2014

What an odd reservation it is to refuse couples the right to share the name of their partner.

That does seem odd, though a number of European countries control names in general surprisingly tightly.

Anyway, the marriage equality approval is great news.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:29 AM on December 1, 2014

The blog post doesn't really explain why Finland has been so non-progressive on this point. Is there a particularly strong religious conservative bloc there compared to its neighbors?
posted by mediareport at 6:59 AM on December 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

If, like me, you get a registration required overlay when you visit the FP link, you can view it by searching for the article on Google News.
posted by zamboni at 7:19 AM on December 1, 2014

So what's the story with Arja Juvonen and her decision to vote against her right-wing party?
posted by a lungful of dragon at 7:27 AM on December 1, 2014

As a Finn, IMHO, the recent rise to prominence of the conservative party in question was driven by an amorphous distaste of the prevailing, seemingly ineffectual more-or-less-consensus politics. The hoi polloi didn't feel like their voice was being heard and latched on to their very well timed anti-elitist, anti-intellectual, populist, traditionalist message. You know, the usual stuff: preach simplistic solutions to complex problems, "power back to the people", be pro-patriarchy, attract the xenophobic and the racist, etc. It's bullshit, but it sells.

Finnish progressiveness and inclusiveness, which the article mentions, were certainly themselves among the many factors that drove a lot of change-fearing conservative-minded people to vote for them in the first place. That this coincided with the Western trend to legalize gay marriage was unfortunate; had they not gotten their landslide election victory when they did, I'd like to think that Finland would have gotten there a bit earlier.
posted by jklaiho at 9:07 AM on December 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

That Finland put gay pornography on its stamps before legalising gay marriage is very Finnish.
posted by Devonian at 10:26 AM on December 1, 2014

I think that one of the major factors is that Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has been in quite a bind with this one. It aims to be, and it is, the national church of Finland, a church where everyone can belong without moral problems; traditional enough to keep conservative people feeling safe within, but progressive enough to not lose next generations. 75% of Finns belong to it, including many atheists like me, who just consider it as a charity organisation with a wide scope of activities, with extra focus on lonely elder people. Keeping the more conservative people in there and not forming their own fringe churches has been a challenge: women clergy was the last step (in 90s) that caused movement to conservative spin-off churches.

You wouldn't make laws about marriage without somekind of nod of acceptance from this church. If you would prepare a law and let church just deal with it, it would be a challenge to redefine existing co-operational church and state relationship, and if that would be the fight, gay marriage would become a pawn that would go down quickly. Church has had its internal discussions for years, and slowly there has been a change where more urban churches have started to hold rainbow sermons etc. and when the Tahdon2013-campaign ("I will") gained steam, the archbishop and several smaller organisations within church made their move, which was really, really appreciated.

There are over 13000 who have left the church after the archbishop's announcement. I consider it smaller loss than what they would get if they got reputation as a purely consersative voice in society. They wouldn't have been able to do their move before they were sure that most of the members would at least be able to recognize the new love and equality -framing for the discussion.

One interesting aspect of this is that it was the first time when a citizens' initiative (a proposal made by people for legislation, which gained the required minimum of 50000 signatures) was accepted by Parliament. It made the victory especially sweet, it was the people who did it!
posted by Free word order! at 10:26 AM on December 1, 2014 [12 favorites]

Regarding names in Nordic/Scandinavian cultures: the English Wikipedia on naming laws in Sweden.
posted by koavf at 9:13 PM on December 1, 2014

« Older Doxxing Defense   |   Make sure the underlying muscles are intact Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments