Passage of gay marriage law will benefit all minorities in Finland

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The ongoing passionate debate in parliament on same-sex marriage reveals, in my opinion, something we’ve known all along about Finland: How we accept and respect people who are different from us. Alongside the present debate on gay marriage is another one being contested in public about our ever-growing cultural diversity.

A draft law to legalize gay marriage in Finland was defeated in February 2013 by a vote of 9-8 by the legal committee of parliament.

Finland is still the only Nordic country that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages.

After that dramatic vote in the legal committee last year, a lot of matters have happened. A citizen’s initiative got over 166,000 signatures. A citizen’s initiative gets 50,000 signatures in six months it must be put to a vote in parliament.

If we look at an A-Studio poll that was published Thursday, it shouldn’t surprise us that the same political parties that oppose gay marriage are against cultural diversity.

Which parties oppose gay marriage? It shouldn’t surprise us that at the head of the list is the anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Islam Perussuomalaiset (PS) party followed by smaller ones like the Christian Democrats.  The Center Party and National Coalition Party, are still split on the new law.

Kuvankaappaus 2014-2-22 kello 9.10.46

 A poll by A-Studio shows that 108 out of 199 MPs support the same-sex marriage initiative. Read full story here.

One could rightfully ask why is legalizing gay marriage important for Finland. The answer to this question is clear because there is a direct relationship with the ongoing debate on our ever-growing cultural diversity and how minorities should be accepted and respected in this country.

Finland has always been culturally diverse, according to Professor Jeremy Gould of Jyväskylä University.

“Culture is always diverse – people everywhere have different tastes, beliefs, habits, and values,” he told Migrant Tales. “This has been true of Finland for centuries. For me the so-called ‘debate about multiculturalism’ is a code word for racism in our society. Finland is already culturally diverse. The issue is that people of color don’t receive the respect and recognition they deserve as human beings.”

In the same way, the debate on granting gays the right to marriage is a code word for homophobia.

The same parties that aren’t ready to give gays the right to marriage are those that are doing everything possible to sabotage and deny our cultural diversity. Spearheading this campaign is none other than the PS.

When the new law is passed, not only will gays benefit from it but other minorities in our society. It will lead and fuel the long-overdue recognition and respect due to all minorities living in Finland.

That is why a lot rides on the passage of the gay marriage law.

  1. PS voter

    While many like to bash Perussuomalaiset by saying that Perussuomalaiset is bad for gays, as a gay I think that the opposite is true, especially if you focus on the big picture and long term outcome and safety for gays, instead of marginal issues. While it is true that as a conservative party, many MPs of Perussuomalaiset don’t support extending marriage laws to same sex couples, on the other hand, Perussuomalaiset seems to be the only party in Parliament that is not willing to sacrifice the safety of gays in the name of uncritical multiculturalism.

    For example, during the “Islam ilta” on TV, only members of Perussuomalaiset openly condemned the idea that homosexuals should be executed. Having said that, I must also praise Nimo Samatar, who is a Somalian-Finnish woman (I have advertised her blog here before), who seems to consider herself a Muslim, although she might not look very traditional one. She said afterwards in her blog, that she was shocked when she heard a imam on that TV show to talk about executing the gays and how could he say thing like that, when just before that he had said that Islam is a religion of peace. If even a Muslim with immigrant background is willing to condemn that, why don’t other partiers support her and gays by condemning that kind of hate speech as well?

    PS, I support extending marriage law to same sex couples. However, I don’t think it is that important issue compared to safety or economics. And the current law about registered civil partnership already offers most of the same benefits, rights and responsibilities as a marriage.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      PS voter, I respect your opinion but let’s take one thing at a time. We’re speaking of same-sex marriage, aren’t we? Why do you bring in “uncritical multiculturalism.” That’s another issue.

      I believe that the PS’ and Soini’s stand against gay marriage is going to hurt the party. Since they know this, PS MP’s like Juho Eerola is now talking about the Muslim threat and their homophobia. It’s a red herring.

  2. PS voter

    Well, you used you post to bash Perussuomalaiset and used gay rights as your excuse. However, I don’t remember you been that interested about talking about gay rights before. As a gay, I don’t accept that some heterosexuals use use us “club” to attack Perussuomalaiset, without really caring about our own thoughts about the issue.

    And if now is not right time to speak how again the issue is not black and white and how Perussuomalaiset is the only party who is willing to defend the safety of gays, which is under threat, when is it right time for it? Never? I would like to remind you that it is one of the most important things that has causefd me to vote Perussuomalaiset. I firmly believe this is issue that should be discussed and satisfactory solved instead of just brushed under the rug.

    And I would also like to thank Juho Eerola (btw, who has also a mixed race child), who you mentioned, for speaking against hatered of gays. And I think he has point — how can Finland let in preachers who have been banned by countries like UK, Australia, Kenya and Germany because of extremist views?

    I don’t agree with Soini with the gay marriage issue and it is not the only issue where I have different views. However, I don’t think that will cause enormous damage, as this gay marriage law is relatively minor issue to even many gays.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      PS voter, you have a right to your feelings. Even so, gays are a minority and greater acceptance of this community will benefit others. We’ve written about gay rights before on Migrant Tales.

    • JusticeDemon

      PS voter

      Perussuomalaiset is the only party who is willing to defend the safety of gays, which is under threat

      Of course they are willing to defend your safety, even if they get aroused by the idea of blowing your brains out:

      Tehtaanpuiston homon kanssa mietin hetken, että jospa hakisin yläkerrasta pyssyn ja ampuisin päähän. Olisiko sitä seuraava hekuma niin suuri, että se ylittäisi vankilareissusta seuraavan harmituksen? Väkivalta on nykyään aliarvostettu ongelmanratkaisukeino.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Well put, JD. This whole thing about defending gays and Jews reminds me of Nazi Germany when they enlisted Muslims in the SS. The only link between Muslims and the SS was their hatred of Jews. The far right and the PS like Jews because some of them hate Muslims. The only reason why Juho Eerola speaks up for gays is because he’s worried about the party’s same-sex marriage stance and wants to score points by bashing Muslims. I would be surprised if the PS don’t get their fingers burned at the ballot box on May 25 never mind in next year’s parliamentary elections.