MP Oinonen exonerated over remarks during gay adoption debate
Vistbacka: furore without foundation, Niinistö: no intention to offend
Raimo Vistbacka, the chairman of the Parliamentary group of the opposition True Finns Party, says that the does not understand the furore that emerged from Tuesday’s speech by MP Pentti Oinonen.
In Tuesday’s debate on a bill that would allow a partner in a registered same-sex relationship to adopt the natural child of the other partner, Oinonen used a slippery-slope argument, suggesting that if the measure is passed, people might eventually want the right to marry their pet dogs.
Vistbacka told Helsingin Sanomat on Thursday that Oinonen was proposing a general question about the limits of liberal-mindedness.
As Vistbacka sees it, the whole controversy emerged from an interpretation put forward later by National Coalition Party MP Timo Heinonen, who saw Oinonen’s message as one in which he conceptually linked dogs, gays, and lesbians with each other.
Vistbacka says that the controversy was artificially generated, with a view to the upcoming elections for the European Parliament.
Heinonen said that many others had also interpreted Oinonen’s speech in the same way that he did.
“Bringing animals into the matter in that way was not, and is still not appropriate, in my opinion.”
Oinonen’s speech sparked so much controversy in Parliament that the Speaker of Parliament, Sauli Niinistö (Nat. Coalition Party) discussed the matter with him late Thursday afternoon.
After a ten-minute conversation, Niinistö concluded that Oinionen had not intended to hurt anyone. He noted that the Speaker does not supervise the opinions that Members of Parliament have, and that there would be no consequences for Oinonen.
After the conversation with Niinistö, Oinonen said that he regrets if he has hurt anyone’s feelings. “This was not the intention. My speech came out of my spiritual convictions”, he said.
He said that it never occurred to him that his words might have offended someone sitting in the Parliamentary chamber, because he had no intention of causing offence. “I was only asking if the world can go in this direction, if there are no values.”
Parliament is scheduled to vote today on the bill on internal adoptions for same sex couples.
Last week the Parliamentary group of the True Finns party asked for a delay in the vote, because the party’s Members of Parliament are leaving for the party’s congress in Seinäjoki on Friday. The Presidium of Parliament did not agree to the request.
More on this subject:
Friday Afternoon: Parliament passes same-sex adoption bill by clear margin, 108-29
Previously in HS International Edition:
Canine comparison during gay adoption debate raises furore in Parliament (14.5.2009)
Split among government parties on internal adoption rights of same-sex couples (27.4.2009)