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November 29, 2014

Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Kari Makinen couldn’t be happier that same-sex couples will now be able to legally marry in his country – though he admits some in the church will struggle with the change

The leader of the church that 3 out of 4 Finns claim membership to has welcomed his country's lawmakers’ decision to finally legalize same-sex marriage, posting his thoughts on the matter online on Friday following the vote.

Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland Kari Makinen posted to Facebook, ‘I know how much this day means to the rainbow community, their loved ones and many others. I rejoice with my whole heart for them and with them.’

November 28, 2014

Read the reactions and voting numbers

The Finnish Parliament has just narrowly passed a bill to legalize gay marriage by 105 votes to 92.

Finland is the last of the Nordic countries to legalize same-sex marriage, although gay couples have been able to enter registered partnerships since 2002.

Ahead of the vote, thousands of protestors both for and against the proposed gender-neutral marriage law gathered outside the Parliament building in Helsinki to make their feelings known. Demonstrators in favor of the bill greatly outnumbered those against it. A carnival atmosphere prevailed.

November 28, 2014

Read the reactions and voting numbers

The Finnish Parliament has just narrowly passed a bill to legalize gay marriage by 105 votes to 92.

Finland is the last of the Nordic countries to legalize same-sex marriage, although gay couples have been able to enter registered partnerships since 2002.

Ahead of the vote, thousands of protestors both for and against the proposed gender-neutral marriage law gathered outside the Parliament building in Helsinki to make their feelings known. Demonstrators in favor of the bill greatly outnumbered those against it. A carnival atmosphere prevailed.

November 28, 2014

Same-sex marriage was legalized in the Nordic region earlier today – we celebrate by gazing at 11 pictures of Finnish storybook beauty

As you've probably heard, gay marriage was legalized in the Nordic country of Finland earlier today by a narrow margin of 105 votes to 92. And what better way than to celebrate than by reminding ourselves of the region's outstanding natural beauty?

From frozen lakes and dense forests to igloo villages and the Northern Lights, here are ten reasons to visit (and even get married in!) fabulous Finland…

1. [Above] The breathtaking Northern Lights over a lake in Oulu

November 28, 2014

Finnish MPs are expected to vote on whether to allow same-sex couples to marry later today and a majority of their party leaders support the reform

Finland may become the last of the Nordic countries to legalize same-sex marriage when MPs sit in parliament today.

Parliament debated the issue yesterday despite the parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee recommending that the bill be rejected.

A majority on the committee were concerned that allowing Finns to enter into same-sex marriages might make it harder for Finnish parents to adopt children from abroad, particularly from neighboring Russia.

October 27, 2014

Christian Democrat leader Päivi Räsänen says her party will not quit the governing coalition ruling Finland if MPs pass a citizens’ initiative that would allow same-sex couples to be legally married

Finland’s Christian Democrat Party says the legalization of same-sex marriage would not be enough for them to quit the coalition leading the country, so long as it was the result of a citizens’ initiative and not legislation put forward by the government itself.

Christian Democrat leader Päivi Räsänen has clarified earlier comments to Turun Sanomat suggesting the party would quit the government if gay couples were allowed to marry.

‘It’s a matter of principle and it could see us leave,’ Räsänen had told the newspaper.

October 20, 2014

St Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov wants all mail bearing erotic Tom of Finland stamps to be returned to sender and for Finns to not use the stamps when mailing Russia

An outspoken anti-gay Russian lawmaker is outraged that the Russian postal service has been allowing mail bearing Finnish stamps commemorating gay erotic artist Tom of Finland to be delivered and has declared them ‘gay propaganda’ in breach of Russia’s censorship laws.

October 6, 2014

Get some northern exposure in Helsinki, where businesses are joining a gay network and the city welcomes LGBTI travelers with open arms

As summer comes to an end, my thoughts generally turn to travel destinations that can offer more than a beach and sunshine.

I’d like to think that I have an adventurous streak, and that I’m not afraid to try something new – but with so much publicity about LGBT rights in countries around the world, I’m also cautious about where I go, and who is the recipient of my hard-earned tourism spend.

I suppose what I’m most concerned about is receiving warm and genuine welcome.

October 6, 2014

Get some northern exposure in Helsinki, where businesses are joining a gay network and the city welcomes LGBTI travelers with open arms

As summer comes to an end, my thoughts generally turn to travel destinations that can offer more than a beach and sunshine.

I’d like to think that I have an adventurous streak, and that I’m not afraid to try something new – but with so much publicity about LGBT rights in countries around the world, I’m also cautious about where I go, and who is the recipient of my hard-earned tourism spend.

I suppose what I’m most concerned about is receiving warm and genuine welcome.

September 10, 2014

The Halpa-Halli chain of department stores says that they will not be stocking the stamps as they do not wish to offend customers

Despite the Finnish Postal Service, Itella, revealing that its new Tom of Finland stamps have been the best-selling in its history – with advance orders from people in 178 different countries ahead of the stamps going on sale this week – not everyone in Finland has embraced them.

September 10, 2014

The Halpa-Halli chain of department stores says that they will not be stocking the stamps as they do not wish to offend customers

Despite the Finnish Postal Service, Itella, revealing that its new Tom of Finland stamps have been the best-selling in its history – with advance orders from people in 178 different countries ahead of the stamps going on sale this week – not everyone in Finland has embraced them.

August 30, 2014

A transgender refugee who tried and failed to gain asylum in several countries, has described New Zealand as a ‘paradise’ where her gender identity is accepted

A transgender woman has spoken about her happiness at finally being allowed to live in a country where her female identity is accepted.

Eliana Rubashkyn, 26, from Bogota, Colombia, was granted asylum in New Zealand, where her certificate of identification has her gender stated as ‘female’.

She has described New Zealand as a ‘paradise’.

Rubashkyn has spoken about the ordeals suffered as a refugee seeking entry into countries such as France, Norway and Finland. She was consistently rejected because of regulations on gender reassignment surgery.

June 26, 2014

Meet the two dads, Ivan Lopez and Sam Laakkonen, scouring the world for the best products and thought-provoking advice for parents

Your baby deserves the best products and you need the best advice in the world as a new parent.

So step forward the two dads behind new website Wauwaa – Sam Laakkonen from Finland and Ivan Lopez from the US.

From funky giraffe bibs to shark swimsuits, their online shop has it all.

Just as importantly their videos and blogs give parents new and surprising insights into raising their kids.

What is Wauwaa?

June 25, 2014

Legal committee rejected the motion supported by over 166,000 people

Finland once again has proven to be the hold out among the Nordic countries, voting against same-sex marriage for the second time.

The parliament’s legal affairs committee has rejected a bid to legislate for equal marriage.

The vote was 10 against and six in support. This means the bill will now go to be discussed by the whole legislature.

February 20, 2014

Members of parliament will discuss same-sex marriage in its initial stages today after 166,000 people called for marriage equality laws

Finland’s parliament will begin debating a bill to allow same-sex marriage today (20 February).

Despite same-sex marriage legislation being defeated before, gay rights activists are hoping politicians will do the right thing on their second chance.

But unlike last time, politicians are discussing the bill on the will of the people.

Under Finnish law, petitions can be started to force parliament to discuss bills that matter – called a ‘citizen’s initiative’.

September 20, 2013

A citizen’s initiative to have the Finnish Parliament consider passing equal marriage laws has collected the most signatures in Finnish history, forcing lawmakers to look at the issue again

Finland’s Parliament will consider the issue of same-sex marriage after supporters gathered 162,000 signatures in favor of it in the Scandinavian nation of 5.4 million people.

The figure represents the largest number of signatures collected in favor of a citizen’s initiative in Finland and only 50,000 signatures, or less than a third of 162,000, were needed for the Parliament to have to consider the initiative.

The same-sex marriage citizens initiative beat the 50,000 signatures in its first day in March last year.

June 26, 2013

Russian President says despite a 'gay gag' bill is set to become law, it does not infringe on the rights of LGBT people

Vladimir Putin has warned Western countries not to interfere on Russia’s plan to ban ‘gay propaganda’.

Speaking in Finland yesterday (25 June), the president said he does not instruct other countries on their position on homosexuality therefore they should not interfere in Russia.

May 18, 2013

Finland’s Krista Siegfrids kisses one of her female dancers after performance of her song Marry Me

An estimated 100 million TV viewers have seen Finland’s Krista Siegfrids kiss one of her female dancers at the end of her Eurovision performance.

Siegfrids was performing her song Marry Me as one of 26 acts in the finals of the camp annual European Song Contest which this year is being held in Malmö, Sweden.

As the show goes out live across the world, it is believed all audiences would have seen the kiss.

May 18, 2013

Emmelie De Forest from Denmark wins Eurovision Song Contest with Only Teardrops. Gay male kiss and marriage in Sweden’s musical tribute. Finland’s Krista Siegfrids kisses female dancer

Denmark has won the gayest ever Eurovision Song Contest, held this year in Malmö, Sweden.

Their song Only Teardrops, performed by Emmelie De Forest had been widely tipped for success.

The contest has long had an enthusiastic gay fan base. But this year there was a new reason for LGBT people to celebrate.

The event saw not one, but two same-sex kisses – the first in its 57 year history.

Swedish comedienne, dancer and television presenter Petra Mede – who hosted the show – ‘married’ two men during her interval act musical tribute.

May 16, 2013

Finland's Krista Siegfrids kisses one of her female dancers after semifinal performance

With a single lesbian kiss, Finland has made history by fighting for equal marriage at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden.

Krista Siegfrids, who sang ‘Marry Me’, ended her semi-final performance by kissing one of her female dancers.

It is the first time there has ever been a gay kiss on a Eurovision stage in its 59-year history.

Speaking to Gay Star News in Malmo, she told critics her kiss was about spreading love and not politics. Political gestures or lyrics are strictly forbidden under Eurovision rules.

May 16, 2013

Gay activists are claiming Turkey's official television channel will not show the annual competition over Finland's entry standing up for marriage equality

Turkey will not be showing Eurovision Song Contest 2013 over alleged fears there will be a lesbian kiss shown this week.

Finland’s entry, Krista Siegfrids, is expected to kiss one of her female dancers on stage during her performance at the semi-finals tonight (16 May) in Malmö, Sweden.

If Europe votes Finland through to the Grand Final (18 May), she will perform the same routine with an expected audience of over 60 million people.

May 13, 2013

Finland’s entry to this year’s European singing contest has created a storm with its catchy beat and open support for same-sex marriage

Krista Siegfrids may appear to be all sugar, sweetness, sunshine, but she is causing shockwaves.

Finland is used to sending ballad after ballad to the annual popfest extravaganza that is the Eurovision Song Contest.

They have broken the mold two times. The first, when they sent a band called Lordi wearing monster costumes and playing heavy rock, and now, when they have sent a pop princess fighting for equal marriage.

May 12, 2013

GSN tests the waters of Helsinki and dives into the restaurants, the bars, the history, and the culture

First time flying Finnair. First time to Helsinki. First time to Finland.

As I stepped off the plane and down on to the tarmac I regretted forgetting to pack my sunglasses – the sky was blue and the sun was shining. Spring had arrived in Helsinki.

I was here to investigate whether Helsinki is Europe’s next gay travel hotspot. People need to know.

May 10, 2013

GSN meets Helsinki’s gay power couple – from politics, to clubbing, to Mr Gay Finland

Ville Ylikahri and Karri Nieminen collected me from the Hotel Glo where I was staying in central Helsinki.

‘The journalists always stay here,’ they laughed to each other. I was still raving about a great dinner I’d had the previous night at nordic restaurant Spis: ‘Yes - they always send the journalists there’ they confirmed.