“We must now consider what the decision means for the church,” Archbishop Kari Mäkinen said on Friday.Kari Mäkinen, the Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, has expressed his hearty congratulations to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Finland.

“I know how much this means to them,” Mäkinen commented while on an official visit to South Africa on Friday, following news that the Parliament has decided to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

It is vital, Mäkinen underscored, to ensure that everyone feels that they have the right to exist and to love.

“We must now consider what the decision means for the church,” he said. “The church will for the present definitely live according to its own decisions and teach according to its own decisions, but attitudes do change.”

The Archbishop issued his statement via Facebook immediately after it was confirmed that the Parliament has voted 105—92 in favour of a citizens' initiative for equal marriage rights. “The debate we have witnessed has shaken the church also in a positive way. It seems to me that there has been a role reversal. Today, the society preaches about ethics that do not protect institutions and principles, but people. That is the kind of preaching the church needs.”

Mäkinen also assured that he understands the viewpoint of those who feel concerned and disappointed after the vote. “What I want to say to them is that marriage is not about to lose its significance, the creed of the church is not in jeopardy, the value of no one is decreasing – on the contrary.”

Kirsti Karttunen – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva