by Linnea Viljamaa, degree student in Media
On 19th of March 2013, on the Day of Equality, a citizen’s initiative began collecting signatures to make the dream of a gender neutral marriage true. They collected signatures until the 19th of September, and handed out the signatures on the 13th of December. Of the required 50 000 signatures, 166 851 were collected.
On the 28th of November 2014 the Parliament finally voted on the law. A rally to support the law gathered across the street from the Parliament house.
I was there.
We went there around noon, and already a lot of people had gathered around. People had dressed in rainbow colors and brought their friends, children, even pets. Not counting a few people with rude signs, the mood was great and friendly, and excitement was in the air. Yle livestreamed the event: a small flying camera circled above the meeting place.
Eventually there were so many people that cellphones stopped working properly. I later read that the police estimated there had been approximately 5000 people there. By some miracle I got the livestream of the voting to work, and for half an hour I stood there with my phone on my ear, listening to the votes on different laws until finally the 7th one was the one we’d been waiting for.
I signaled my friends and listened intensely. We needed a majority of ”NO” to counter an earlier vote. As the Chairman spoke out loud the results, a cheer went up. ”92 yes –” and he had to bang his hammer to quiet the excited representatives. The law had been accepted with 92 against it, 105 for it.
Cheers erupted in the crowds as the news circled. My friends asked me: ”Did it pass? Did it get through?” ”Yes! Yes, I think so, yes!” I answered, and we started screaming and hugging out of sheer joy. That Friday was a historial day for Finland. The law still needs to go through two votings, but it’s looking good.