Marriage Equality Law Rejection May Have a Silver Lining

A proposal for marriage equality law was blocked today in the Finnish parliament. Among other things, it proposed giving same-sex couples full adoption rights. The decision of the parliament’s legal affairs committee is obviously embarrassing for the attempts to create an image of Finland as a vanguard of equality rights.

The silver lining is that citizen’s initiative will be able to make visible its legislative potential. This could be an unprecedented opportunity for mechanisms of participatory democracy, traditionally not very strong in Finland.

I have no reason to entertain false illusions about the extent of democracy in general or participatory democracy in particular in Finland. Nevertheless, the law of citizen’s initiative that became effective almost exactly one year ago, on 1 March 2012, is good news for possibilities of participation. Other recent moves in the same direction include participatory budgeting initiatives in the municipality of Helsinki.

My guess is that the citizen’s initiative on marriage equality will gather a record number of signatories. The final result will depend again on the parliament, with the exact procedure depending on the form the initiative will have.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s