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The changing landscape of gay marriage in Europe

We have covered the progress of marriage equality rather extensively on the blog. While same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales since the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, there are still many countries where this is an ongoing battle.

The latest victory for supporters of gay marriage comes from Scandinavia, where Finland became the twelfth country in Europe to legalise it. The bill passed the Finnish Parliament with 102 votes in its favour, whereas 92 MPs voted against it.

Despite the fact that same-sex couples in Finland have been able to enter into ‘registered partnerships’ since 2002, the new law gives them full marriage rights. This includes the right to adopt children and share the same last name.

Earlier this year, a transgender woman in Finland was told she had to change her marital status if she wanted to have her acquired gender recognised. After the legalisation of same-sex marriage, this issue should not arise again.

Meanwhile in Central Europe, the President of Slovakia announced that the country will hold a referendum on marriage early next year. Specifically, the referendum will ask voters if marriage in Slovakia should be defined as between one man and one woman.

The referendum will also ask if same-sex partners should be banned from adopting children and whether schoolchildren should be taught sex education even without their parents’ permission.

The vote will take place on 7 February. It was announced in response to a petition by a conservative campaign group which collected 400,000 signatures.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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