Soini promises no reprisals for party MPs supporting gay marriage

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from YLE:

Opposition Finns Party chair Timo Soini has called on party MPs to vote against gender neutral marriage in parliament next week. Soini pledged however that MPs who stray from the party line won’t be punished.

Speaking on Yle’s press review programme Pressiklubi, conservative Finns Party chair Timo Soini pointed out that all party lawmakers are bound to preserve the institution of marriage between men and women. He added that the stance is written into the official party policy undersigned by all Finns Party parliamentarians.

Next week parliamentarians of all colours will be called upon to vote on changes to existing marriage laws to allow same-sex unions. Soini said that Finns Party MPs who decide to deviate from the party line will not be punished.

"Shame will be the punishment for not upholding the party line. But the constitution does not call for sanctions against those who vote otherwise, nor should it," Soini declared.

The party chief also promised that dissenting MPs would not be ejected from the party’s parliamentary group.

"They wouldn’t have to leave the parliamentary group over something like this," he added.

No changes to personal position

In his political memoir launched Thursday, Soini repeatedly took the opportunity to make the case for marriage between men and women only. He said he also intends to vigorously promote his anti-gender-neutral marriage views in the parliament as well.

“I will do everything I can to ensure that people dare to voice and promote this view,” the party leader concluded.

Parliament will convene on March 13 to consider a gay marriage bill that generated overwhelming public support. So far the legislative proposal has proved to be highly divisive for parliamentary groups, with MPs from the National Coalition and opposition Centre parties evenly split on the issue.

Smaller groups such as the Left Alliance, Green League and Swedish Peoples Party meanwhile mostly support the measure. The Finns Party has gone on record as opposing same-sex marriage.

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