The Finnish Parliament approved marriage equality Friday afternoon by a vote of 105-92, having been asked to consider the measure by a citizens’ initiative. It was actually the first time ever that lawmakers approved a law that had been proposed by the voters in such a fashion.
Prime Minister Alexander Stubb praised the legislature for “approaching the same level as that of other Nordic and Western countries on this very delicate and difficult issue,” referring to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, all of which already allow same-sex couples to marry. Finland previously allowed same-sex couples to register their partnerships, but they were not allowed to marry.
Although the law might not take effect until 2016, the vote makes Finland the 18th country in the world to approve allowing same-sex couples to marry nationwide. This tally does not include the United States and Mexico, where marriage equality is still localized, or countries like Australia and Colombia who have extended some recognition to same-sex couples, but not full marriage rights. The last country to approve marriage equality was Luxembourg in June, and that law could take effect as soon as January of 2015.