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Finland parliament votes to confirm same-sex marriage law

[JURIST] The Parliament of Finland [official website] voted 120-48 [text] on Friday to confirm a law allowing same-sex marriage [text, PDF, in Finnish]. The law faced opposition from the Genuine Marriage Initiative [advocacy website, in Finnish], a conservative group that sought to keep the definition of marriage as "between a man and a woman" in Finland, the last Nordic country to adopt a same-sex marriage law. Genuine Marriage brought a petition [text, PDF] with more than 106,000 signatures in an attempt to block the law, arguing that a child was entitled to a mother and father. The law, which will allow same-sex spouses to adopt their partners' surnames and share healthcare benefits, is scheduled to go into effect March 1. The bill was first proposed to Parliament in 2014 through a petition, after two previous attempts to introduce legislation failed.

Rights for LGBT individuals continue to change. Earlier this month the UK announced [press release] that thousands of gay and bisexual men who were convicted of sexual offenses received a posthumous pardon as their actions are no longer deemed illegal under British law. In January the Texas Supreme Court reversed its previous 8-1 decision [JURIST report], choosing to review a lower court ruling in which that court held cities are required to offer the same benefits to same-sex spouses of employees as to opposite-sex spouses. A UN human rights expert provided a report [JURIST report] to an international conference in Thailand in November regarding discrimination of the lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender and intersex community. Also in November the Ontario legislature passed the All Families are Equal Act [text], recognizing same-sex couples as parents when they utilize assisted reproduction.

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