This week, the Finnish parliament overwhelmingly approved the final legislative measure required to legalize marriage equality, reports Pink News. Slightly behind the curve of fellow Nordic nations Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Denmark—where marriage was established between 2009 and 2012—the final amendment to Finland's 2014 same-sex marriage bill allows for couples to convert civil unions into full-fledged marriages once the law takes effect in March 2017.
While a popular petition led to the Finnish parliament taking up and approving the issue of marriage equality in November 2014, with the initiative receiving President Sauli Niinistö's signature in early 2015, the progress of same-sex marriage has nonetheless been remarkably slow. From the onset, March 2017 was set as the date for the law to take effect—more than two years from the date of passage.
Homosexuality was first legalized in Finland in 1971, with same-sex unions introduced in 2002, offering equal rights with the exception of adoption. Today, members of the LGBT community are also protected by anti-discrimination laws. Last year, a petition was circulated in opposition to the marriage equality measure, which gained enough support to force parliament to once again debate the issue. However, it failed to gain the legislative support needed to overturn the law. Now, same-sex couples need wait just another year before finally being able to marry.