Showing posts with label Finland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Finland. Show all posts

November 28, 2014

Finland Approves Gay Marriage



Same-sex couples are set to receive full marriage rights in Finland after the Nordic country’s parliament backed a much-debated legislative proposal on Friday.
The proposal—expected to be enacted into law by the end of 2015—will grant same-sex couples the same marriage and adoption rights as the Finnish law now affords heterosexual couples.
Finland’s 200-seat parliament approved the proposal by 105 votes to 92, capping a period of heated campaigning which clogged the email accounts of parliamentary deputies and aroused strongly voiced commentary from both sides of the argument.
Finland's Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, left, hugs the country’s first openly gay MP Jani Toivola after the vote.ENLARGE
Finland's Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, left, hugs the country’s first openly gay MP Jani Toivola after the vote. REUTERS


“I am very happy that the parliament has today said ‘I do’ to an equitable marriage law,” Finland’s center-right Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told reporters shortly after the parliamentary vote.
Mr. Stubb has actively supported same-sex marriage and on the eve of the vote he publicly pleaded to members of parliament to vote in favor of the proposal—an unusual move for a sitting prime minister in Finland.
Same-sex couples have been able to register their partnership formally in Finland since 2002 in an arrangement that has granted them many of the same rights and obligations that come with traditional marriage under the Finnish law.
However, Finland has been lagging its Nordic peers and many other Western nations in giving full marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples.
Mr. Stubb said the proposed new law will now put Finland “on par with the other Nordic countries and Western [nations].”
I am very happy that the parliament has today said ‘I do’ to an equitable marriage law.
—Alexander Stubb, prime minister of Finland
The proposal was put to parliament through a so-called citizens’ initiative. In Finland, if a citizen or a group of citizens gather 50,000 signatures for a legislative proposal, the parliament has to take it up for consideration.
Backers of the proposal came predominantly from urban areas and were younger people and its opponents represented more conservative rural and elderly people.
“I feel great,” said Silvia Modig, a member of parliament who voted for the proposal and represents the Left Alliance party. “Even though I am openly homosexual, this was no personal mission to me. This was foremost an equal protection issue. We are now legalizing and recognizing something that already exists in the society.”
Police estimated that about 6,000 supporters of the proposal had gathered outside Finland’s parliament, erupting in cheers after the vote’s result was announced.
Inside the parliament, Pentti Oinonen, a member of parliament who had voted against the bill, was downcast.
“I am disappointed. This is bad for Finland and bad for our values. I had hoped that in this issue, Finland would have not followed the crowd,” said Mr. Oinonen, who represents the predominantly socially conservative The Finns Party.
  Juhana Rossi at

April 16, 2014

Homoerotic Stamps Coming Out in Finland

The Finnish postal service has created 3 Tom of Finland stamps 

The work of iconic gay artist Tom of Finland will be honoured this fall when it appears on a new set of stamps released by the Finnish postal service, Itella Posti Oy.

Set to be rolled out between September and October 2014, the three Tom of Finland stamps were unveiled this week by the postal service on its blog, alongside seven additional sets of stamps featuring the works of other prominent Finnish artists.

"His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion," reads a press release issued by the Itella Posti Oy. "In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures."

The release, which also hails the artist's work as "confident and proud homoeroticism" goes on to note that the self-adhesive stamps will be launched in conjunction with an art exhibition dedicated to Tom Finland in the Postal Museum.

While Tom of Finland (whose real name was Touko Laaksonen) died in 1991, his work lives on as some of the most iconic and daring of its kind.Within the LGBT and arts communities, he is legendary.

"He created an archive of erotica with a distinct aesthetic – vast-shouldered men in leather, denim and knee-high boots – that is said to have influenced figures including Robert Mapplethorpe, Freddie Mercury and the Village People," writes the Guardian's Kira Chochrane. "[His works] are considerably more erotic than those usually seen on any nation's envelopes."

"His sketches, often explicit, were unapologetic depictions of gay sex and relationships," wrote Soraya Nadia McDonald, similarly, for the Washington Post. "Laaksonen’s subjects were almost always muscle-bound, handsome figures, often bursting out of their clothes. His work, a meditation on masculinity, was also heavy on leather fetish imagery."

Being one of the most well-known Finnish artists in the world with more than 3,500 drawings to his name, it makes sense that Tom of Finland was chosen for the honor of having his work appear on stamps — and yet, in a country where gay marriage is not yet legal, the fact that his graphic homoerotic works are being celebrated by the post office has come as a surprise to some.

by Lauren O’Neil

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