Saara Aalto renews engagement as Finland finally begins same-sex weddings

X Factor singer Saara Aalto has renewed her proposal to her fiancée, as their native Finland finally begins same-sex weddings.

Same-sex weddings have begun in Finland today, more than two-and-a-half years after Parliament initially voted in favour of equal marriage.

It was the last Nordic country to begin permitting same-sex marriages, joining Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark.

But the news is extra-special for X Factor star Saara Aalto, who has been waiting for the right to marry her partner Meri Sopanen.

The pair first got engaged on their two-year anniversary in August 2016, but Aalto renewed her proposal as marriage became legal in her native country.

She tweeted: “Same sex marriage is legal in Finland today!!! Would you marry me @MeriSopanen?”

The singer also posted a picture of herself at a rally for equal marriage way back in 2014, when Parliament narrowly passed the reform.

Aalto got engaged last summer shortly before appearing on the X Factor in the UK – though the show omitted mention of her big news.

X Factor insiders denied the show had actively avoided mentioning the singer’s relationship in pre-song VTs, claiming it was “not relevant” despite extensive focus on the families and partners  of some contestants.

They said: “Saara is totally comfortable with her sexuality and has been very open about it in interviews and on social media, but it isn’t a defining factor for her in The X Factor.

“As with any other contestant, Saara’s sexuality isn’t relevant to her performances which are the main focus on the show.”

LGB Fins including Ms Aalto have had a long wait for marriage  equality.

The two-and-a-half year delay was down to complexities in the process required for the legislation to become law, while opponents of equality also staged a plot to derail the plans at the eleventh hour last month.

After the country’s parliament rejected the last-ditch attempt to derail the law by 120-48, weddings began today.

Gay Finns hoping for a church wedding may still be waiting a while though, as Finland’s dominant religious institution, the Lutheran Evangelical Church, has reaffirmed its opposition to equal marriage.

Archbishop Kari Mäkinen has threatened to punish priests who take part in same-sex weddings, while some dioceses have even banned prayers for married same-sex couples.