Same sex marriage initiative faces uphill battle in Parliament
True Finns manoeuvre to pre-empt gay adoption rights
A Parliamentary initiative launched nearly two months ago to allow same-sex couples to marry has not progressed as the working group set up to promote it has hoped.
The aim was to get more than 100 members of Finland’s 200-member Parliament to sign the initiative, but only about 70 signatories have been found so far.
No MPs of the Centre Party or the True Finns have signed the initiative.
In spite of the problems that the initiative is facing, the True Finns are worried that homosexuals might be allowed to marry some day, and to get the right to adopt children as couples.
Consequently, the True Finns are pushing for changes in a bill on adoption that would prevent same sex couples from applying for an outside adoption.
At present, individual homosexuals are allowed to adopt children, but not as couples: only the adoptive parent is considered a legal parent in such an adoption.
The True Finns want the new law to clearly state that “two adoptive parents” would comprise a man and a woman.
“We want to speak more about the rights of a child than those of an adult, and the child should get both a mother and a father in an adoption”, says True Finns MP Kaj Turunen, a member of the Legal Affairs Committee.
The True Finns also take a negative view of allowing single people to adopt, which is allowed in the present law.
The present government parties will not agree to the changes put forward by the True Finns.
Also unlikely to pass is the proposed changes to adoption legislation put forward by members of the liberal wing of Parliament, who have proposed tweaking the adoption law in such a way as to put same-sex couples living in registered partnerships on equal footing with married couples.
On the practical level same sex couples have found it hard to adopt from outside the family even in those countries where it is allowed by law.
For instance, Sweden has allowed same-sex couples to adopt since 2003, but no gay couples have managed adopt children from abroad. Countries from where children are adopted generally stipulate that an adoptive couple should be heterosexual.
Gay rights are not the main issue in the bill for a new adoption law. A key purpose of the change is to establish rules on the age difference between an adoptive child and the would-be adoptive parent. The overall aim is to secure the best interests of the child in an adoption.
Parliament needs to process the law before the end of the year, because changes in the duties of officials mean that the bill is linked with next year’s state budget.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Up to 18,000 leave Lutheran Church over statements on gay current affairs programme (18.10.2010)
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)
NEWS ANALYSIS: Marriage equality issue left over from government formation talks (29.9.2011)
BREAKING NEWS: Multiparty initiative to change marriage legislation to allow same-sex marriages (28.9.2011)
Finnish MPs disagree on registered couples´ adoption rights (27.11.2008)