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Home NATIONALSDP chief supports same-sex marriage bill
Sun, 29 Jun, 2014 12:04:40 AM
FTimes-STT Report, June 29
File picture of SDP Chairman Antti Rinne. Photo – Lehtikuva.
Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue (Social Democratic Party-SDP) chief and Finance Minister Antti Rinne said the same-sex marriage bill should be considered from a humanitarian perspective and his party will support it during the discussion expected in the parliament in autumn.
The leader of SDP, the second largest component of the ruling five-party alliance in a post on the party website said two of his party lawmakers were absent in the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee meeting, resulting in the rejection of the bill by the committee.
Rinne said in the writing that a change in the marriage law is a human rights issue, not a question of conscience. 
“When the parliament will vote for the equality of citizens and the human rights issues, the Social Democrats will be there,” Rinne assured in his writing.
He confirmed that the SDP supports the initiative.
The Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee on June 25 voted 10-6 against the same-sex marriage bill.
A tight race was anticipated but, due to a number of absentees during the voting, the bill went down by a clear margin.
The committee decided to prepare a report to be presented before a full sitting of the parliament proposing dismissal of the bill.
The committee chair, Anne Holmlund did not give an exact timeframe but said the work of preparing the report could go until autumn and it would possibly be presented before the national assembly in late autumn.
According to Holmund, if the bill is enacted, it would affect other laws.
Earlier, on February 20, a debate took place among the lawmakers from the treasury bench and the opposition in the parliament during a discussion on the bill.
The citizen initiative, calling for wider marriage rights including right to same-sex marriage, has collected more than 164,000 signatures.
The last time the bill was discussed in the parliament was a year ago when 76 MPs signed the bill, but it faltered when the Legal Affairs Committee turned down the petition by 9-8 votes.
The Rainbow Families, an association for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents and their children, meanwhile, have expressed the hope that the House would deal with the issue more tactfully this time.
In March 2013, the citizens’ campaign collected 100,000 signatures from people who supported same-sex marriage.
At least 50,000 signatures are needed to introduce a debate in the parliament on any issue.
Same-sex marriages are recognised in all Nordic countries except Finland.
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