Gay rights and the church

Let me draw your attention to a current, heated debate that’s taking place in Finland which has not yet been picked up by the international media.

On Tuesday, a Finnish current affairs programme Ajankohtainen Kakkonen, debated on gay rights. Whether gays should have the right to marry in church, can same-sex couples adopt and so on.

The debate polarised when Christian Democrat MP Päivi Räsänen and the Bishop of Tampere, Matti Repo, voiced their opinions that essentially, gays and lesbians don’t have the same rights as hetero-sexual couples.

As a result of this programme, around 15,000 people have resigned from the church via an online service, eroakirkosta.fi (= resignfromchurch.fi).

The numbers are massive for a country of 5 million people.

Since the programme aired, a number of bishops have pointed out that Räsänen and Repo did not represent the official line of the church (they have none) and that there are parishes where gays and lesbians are treated as equals.

My facebook feed has been livid with the topic, the debate has clearly touched a nerve.

This blog is by no means political and I promise to keep it so but this debate defines current Finnish society. Now we can only hope this wasn’t just a brief public outrage but will add some momentum to the legislative process and make everyone equal.