Kari Makinen

What this Finnish Archbishop Said that Caused 8000 Members to Leave His Church

Kari Makinen

Archbishop Kari Mäkinen’s Support for Marriage Equality Prompts Exodus of Lutheran Church Members

Almost 8,000 members of Finland’s Lutheran Church have made the decision to resign from their church following the support of Archbishop Kari Mäkinen for a law legalizing same-sex marriage.  Mäkinen, serving as the 14th Archbishop of Turku and Finland, said on Facebook, “I know how much this day means for rainbow people. I rejoice with my whole heart for them and with them.”  Following these comments, about 7,800 people resigned from the Lutheran Church using an online service made to help ease the process of resignation from the state-sponsored religion.  Nearly 80% of the population in Finland is registered with the Church and pays taxes to provide an essential revenue source for the church.

A new law, which passed Friday, supports the inclusion of same-sex couples in Finland’s official definition of the word “marriage.”  It received support from 105 Parliament members, while the opposing votes numbered 92.  The passage of the law brings Finland, which has allowed the formation of partnerships for gay couples since 2002, into line with other Nordic nations, as all of them had already embraced marriage equality.  Gay Finnish couples will now have the right to adopt children and share the same surname.

The issue of same-sex marriage has proved contentious in Finnish society, sparking debate and disagreements.  Alexander Stubb, Prime Minister of Finland, believes that “Finland should strive to become a society where discrimination does not exist, human rights are respected and two adults can marry regardless of their sexual orientation.”  However, a prominent member of the nationalist Finns party, Mika Niiko, is insistent that the subject “is a question of the future of our children and the whole society,” and that changes such as these “should not be made without thorough evaluation of their impact.”


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