We do! Finland and Slovenia legalise same-sex marriage

Two European countries have joined almost 30 other nations around the world in allowing lesbian and gay couples to tie the knot.

As of 24 February, same-sex marriage became legal in Slovenia. The country’s first same-sex wedding, between two lesbian women, is set to take place on Saturday in Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city.

The only disappointing proviso is that same-sex couples are still not allowed to adopt children or make use of in vitro fertilisation. The concession followed a referendum at the end of 2015 which saw the public overwhelmingly vote to reject a law granting full marriage equality to same-sex couples.

In April 2016, the National Assembly voted to adopt a new same-sex marriage bill after opponents agreed to the law as long as it barred adoption and assisted reproduction.

Despite the compromise, the development has been welcomed by LGBT rights groups in the country.

“This is a big step forward,” Lana Gobec, spokeswoman for the Legebitra LGBT rights group, told Reuters. “But we will continue to strive for complete equality of heterosexual and same-sex couples.”

As of the 1st of March, following a complex and long legislative process, same-sex couples will finally also be allowed to marry in Finland, and will have all the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Last week, Finland’s parliament voted against a citizens’ petition, signed by 100,000 people, opposing the law legalising same-sex marriage. This was the final hurdle for the legislation, which was first passed at the end of 2014 by the previous parliament.

Despite the public opposition expressed in the petition, a 2015 survey found that 66% of Finns believed that same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe.

Both countries had previously allowed for some form of registered partnerships for same-sex couples.

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