Thousands quit Finnish church after Archbishop ‘welcomes’ same-sex marriage

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Thousands of people have left Finland’s biggest church, after its head signalled his support for same-sex marriage.

Finland became the last Nordic country to approve same-sex marriage last week, when MPs narrowly approved a measure by a vote of 105-92.

Kari Mäkinen, the Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland – which has over 4 million members – spoke out to praise the ruling.

He said: “I know how much this day means for rainbow people, their loved ones and many others. I rejoice with my whole heart for them and with them.

“We are in the same situation as our neighbouring Nordic Churches: our concept of marriage needs a fundamental examination.”

However, conservative church members have reacted with hostility to his speech – and have threatened to split away.

According to YLE, in the first two days since the vote, nearly 7,800 people ‘resigned’ from the church using the online system.

Christian Democrat leader Paivi Rasanin has vowed to fight against the same-sex marriage legislation, which still has a long road ahead in Parliament before marriages can begin.

Th first couples are expected to marry in Finland in 2017.